Thursday, April 15, 2010

LP supporter killed, 13 others wounded in Mindanao blast

A grenade attack late Wednesday, April 14, 2010 killed a supporter of Liberal Party mayoralty and vice mayoralty candidates Montasir and Abdulwahad Sabal in Maguindanao's Datu Odin Sinsuat town. At least 13 people are wounded in the explosion. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales)

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / April 15, 2010) – A mayoralty candidate and his brother escaped death, but one of their supporters was killed and more than a dozen injured after a grenade attack at a beach resort in the southern Philippines.

Police is investigating the attack late Wednesday on the Hill Park Resort owned by brothers Montasir and Abdulwahad Sabal in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province.

Montasir Sabal is running for mayor and his brother as vice mayor in the town under the Liberal Party in next month’s general elections. The two brothers, who came from a political campaign, were talking to their supporters when the attack occurred at around 9.15 p.m.

“The two brothers are lucky because people were around them. They were talking to their supporters when the attack occurred, unfortunately one of their own was killed in the blast and many more wounded, at least 13 people were injured in the explosion,” Kram, one of the brothers’ follower, said by phone.

“Police is investigating the blast and the brothers Montasser and Abdulwahad Sabal are for sure the target of this attack, it is election time and the two are favorites to win in the polls,” he added.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but elections are traditionally violent in the southern Philippines, particularly in the Muslim autonomous region to which Maguindanao belongs.

Last year, members of the powerful Ampatuan clan were accused of murdering at least 57 people, including 32 journalists, in Maguindanao.

Authorities blamed politics in the murders after Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu sent his wife, sister and supporters accompanied by journalists to file his candidacy for governor in Maguindanao against Andal Ampatuan Snr, the clan’s patriarch and the provincial governor.

Mangudadatu’s convoy was intercepted in Shariff Aguak town by more than 100 gunmen allegedly led by the patriarch’s son and namesake and herded all 57 people to a hill in the next town of Ampatuan where they were shot and hacked and buried in two mass graves.

Both father and son and some family members, including the regional governor Zaldy Ampatuan and relatives were eventually arrested and jailed in connection to the slayings. The Ampatuan clan denied all charges against them. (Mindanao Examiner)

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