MARAWI CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 10) – Police forces mounted a massive search Friday for gunmen who ambushed a former town mayor in the restive province of Lanao del Sur.
Chief Superintendent Bienvenido Latag, chief of the police force in the volatile Muslim autonomous region, said gunmen ambushed Alimatar Guroalim, a former mayor of Tugaya town, and wounded four of his companions.
Guroalim’s group was on their way to a mosque when they were ambushed in the town of Tugaya.
The motive of the attack was unknown and no individual or group claimed responsibility for the ambush.
Police suspect the attack was connected to politics or feud. Special elections are scheduled on November in the Lanao, one of five provinces the autonomous region.
Government troops were also sent to the province to help police forces maintain peace and order in the area. “We have deployed company-sized soldiers in the area to prevent more hostilities. There is an investigation going on right now,” said Brigadier General Rey Ardo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade.
Ardo said the governor of Lanao del Sur, Mamintal Adiong Jr. also ordered a parallel investigation into the killing of the politician. He said Adiong also convened the crisis management committee on Friday and met with religious leaders and top security commanders to discuss how to diffuse the growing tension brought about by the killing of the former mayor.
“Tension is very high right now and we don’t want anymore bloodshed in the province,” he said.
General elections were held in the country on May 10, but some areas in Lanao province had been marred with violence and vote-buying that polls had been postponed. (Mindanao Examiner)