Friday, February 12, 2010

Police kill follower of detained mayor linked to massacre at shootout inside Philippine mall

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 12, 2010) – A follower of the Ampatuan clan was killed Friday night in a shootout with a police escort of rival clan member at a shopping mall in Davao City in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said the shooting occurred at around 7:25 p.m. at the 4th Floor of the Gaisano South Mall in downtown Davao after the policeman exchanged gunfire with Tamano Kamindan Mamalapat, a former government militia working for the Ampatuan clan.

Army Major Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the police are still investigating the shooting. “The incident is being investigated by the police,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Cabangbang said the policeman who killed Mamalapat is an escort of Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu, whose wife and sisters were among 57 people, including at least 31 journalists brutally killed in November 23 last year by gunmen allegedly led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., the mayor of Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao province.

The Ampatuan and Mangudadatu clans are bitter political foe.

Cabangbang did not give details about the shooting. But ABS television reported that Mamalapat tried to attack Mangudadatu who was shopping with his three children. The politician was unhurt.

Ampatuan Jr. and his father Andal Ampatuan Sr. and brothers and other clan members were also arrested and are facing multiple murder charges in connection with the killings. The Ampatuans all denied involvement in the gruesome murders.

The journalists were traveling with Mangudadatu’s wife on a political caravan when the gunmen seized them in Shariff Aguak town and herded them to the next town called Ampatuan where they were hacked with machetes and shot in the face and buried in shallow graves.(Mindanao Examiner)

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