Friday, April 30, 2010

Bomb explodes in Maguindanao province

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 30, 2010) – A roadside bomb exploded Friday in the town of Ampatuan in the Maguindanao province in the restive Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao ahead of general elections next month.

Police said the explosion occurred minutes after the convoy of Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu passed through the village of Kauran. Mangudadatu is running for governor in Maguindanao.

Mangudadatu’s wife and sister and other relatives were killed along with more than 50 people, including at least 32 journalists, and buried in two shallow graves in the town named after a powerful political clan accused as behind the gruesome murders.

“It so happen that (Esmael) Mangudadatu was passing near the area to attend a political rally and apparently there was an explosion about 15 to 20 meters from the main road in Ampatuan (town),” said Senior Superintendent Alex Lineses, the Maguindanao police chief.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the explosion and it was unknown whether Mangudadatu was the target of the bombing.

Filipinos are to elect their new sets of local and national leaders on May 10 in the country’s first ever automated polls. Elections are traditionally violent in Mindanao. (Mark Navales contributed to this report.)

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