Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tacurong car bombing suspects known

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 17, 2011) – A provincial governor, who survived a recent car bomb attack in the restive southern region of Mindanao, said he knew who was behind the failed assassination.

The bomb exploded just as Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu’s convoy was passing in Tacurong City. The powerful blast killed two people – 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 refused to identify those behind the bombing, but police said it is investigating whether followers of the Ampatuan clan - whose patriarch and sons were linked to the 2009 brutal murder of the governor’s wife and sister – were involved in the attack.

The clan was accused of masterminding the massacre of 58 people; more than two dozens of them were journalists covering the governor’s political convoy in Maguindanao province. Many of those accused in the massacre are in jail.

President Benigno Aquino condemned the bombing and ordered an investigation into the attack that also left 6 people wounded - Russman Sinsuat Jr., Noble Abdullah, Richard Sonza, Bebot Barabarang, Mabang Antonio Algaba and Robert Formacion.

“We condemn the attempted assassination of Maguindanao Governor Toto Mangudadatu in the strongest terms. The attack, which claimed one life and left several wounded, comes at a time when the Peace Process and efforts to achieve justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre are moving forward.’

“Attempts such as this one can only serve the ends of the enemies of peace, stability and prosperity in ARMM. (Interior and Local Government) Sec. (Jesse) Robredo has informed us that there are initial leads. The ownership of the car that was blown up has been identified. The authorities will pursue all leads with vigor,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

ARMM is the acronym for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to which Maguindanao province belongs.

Police said it traced the owner of the car used in the bombing who said that the vehicle was sold to a buyer from Cotabato City. (Mindanao Examiner)

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