Thursday, August 18, 2011

Philippine authorities hold suspect in deadly car bombing

A police officer shows the computer sketch of one suspect, Jay Reyes, in the deadly car bombing in Tacurong City in Mindanao. Security forces are in alert in the southern Philippines following the failed assassination of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu. (Photo by Mark Navales)

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 18, 2011) – Police authorities are holding a man believed to be involved in the deadly car bombing that targeted a provincial governor in the troubled region of Mindanao in southern Philippines.

Police said it is investigating Karim Masdal in connection with the August 15 bombing of the convoy of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu in Tacurong City that left 2 people dead and 6 others wounded.

Masdal, a native of Maguindanao’s Guindulongan town, was said to be the man who parked the car minutes after it exploded as Mangudadatu’s convoy passed. Police said Masdal was arrested after the bombing, but kept it secret from the media until investigations are completed.

Police is hunting down another suspect, Jay Reyes, who was reported to have bought the car in July from a taxi company in Davao City. Reyes remains at large, but police have released a computer sketch of the man.

Both Masdal and Reyes have been charged with double murder and multiple frustrated murders in connection with the attack.

Mangudadatu said he knew who was behind his failed assassination, but decline to identify them. The powerful blast killed a bystander Raffy Parenas and Russman Sinsuat, a provincial board member, who was with the convoy.

Sinsuat’s car suffered the most damage from about 10 vehicles in the convoy, police said.

Mangudadatu’s wife and sister were among 58 people, including 38 journalists, brutally killed in 2009 in Maguindanao province by followers of the influential Ampatuan clan.

The clan was accused of masterminding the massacre. The journalists were covering the governor’s political convoy in Maguindanao province when gunmen seized them on a highway and brought them to a field where they were hacked with machetes and then shot as they pleaded to their killers.

Many of those accused in the massacre, including the clan leaders, are in jail. (Mindanao Examiner)

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