Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Extrajudicial killings decried in Zamboanga Sur

PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 27, 2010) - The vice governor of Zamboanga del Sur province Roseller Ariosa decried the series of extrajudicial killings in Pagadian City happening at a time when a total gun ban is being implemented by authorities.

He ordered police and military to tighten security in the province to prevent future killings and arrest those behind the murders.

The murders where believed to be politically motivated. First to fell from an assassin's bullet was Rascal Tiban Afdal, a political leader of the Liberal party, and a relative of Mayor Abubakar Afdal of Labangan.

Afdal was killed on January 4 by three motorcycle gunmen in the village of Dao while on his way to work. He was with his wife when the shooting occurred.

On January 16, another political leader of the Afdal clan, Hadja Hanira Abdullah Agcong, was fatally shot while seating in her parked van along Rizal Avenue.

The next day, Muttalidem Tapodoc, executive secretary of Labangan town, and a candidate for the town council, was shot dead along Datoc Street at the back of city hall near the police station.

Local city police chief, Michael Palermo, did not rule out the politics as the motive of the killings. He said they are investigating whether the murders were connected to grudge or family matters.

Palermo said Afdal's murder was believed connected with the illegal drug trade while Agcong's killing had something to do with family feud.

Since early this month, police said nearly a dozen people had been killed. (Becky de Asis and Jong Cadion contributed to this report)

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