Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Security forces raid Maguindanao house, recover huge cache of illegal munitions

Police raid a house in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao on Wednesday, January 20, 2009, and recovered a huge cache of munitions. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Nickee Butlangan)

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 20, 2010) – Police forces recovered a huge cache of ammunition in a raid Wednesday in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, where security forces continue to search for illegal weapons owned by a powerful political clan linked to the brutal murder of at least 57 people last year.

Police forces, backed by army soldiers, swooped down on a house in Shariff Aguak town and owned by Salik Santiago, said to be the father-in-law of massacre suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr, the mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

“We have recovered many munitions; bullets for automatic weapons – machine guns, rifles and even munitions for a grenade launchers. This is part of our continuing campaign to collect all illegal weapons in Maguindanao and other areas in the region,” said Senior Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, the regional police chief.

Police also recovered the gun permit of Andal Ampatuan Jr. in the house. It was unknown if he owns the cache. The politician is currently detained at the headquarters of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila and is facing multiple murder charges filed by families and relatives of the massacre victims.

Latag said security forces continue to search for illegal arms in Maguindanao where more than a thousand light artillery and heavy infantry weapons and hundreds of thousands of munitions had been unearthed in Shariff Aguak after the massacre.

The weapons were believed owned by the Ampatuan clan, whose patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., the governor of Maguindanao, and his sons, including Zaldy Ampatuan, the regional government, were arrested in connection with the brutal killings. (With a report from Nickee Butlangan)

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