Wed, November 25, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Philippine political massacre

Philippine massacre toll reaches 49

2009-11-25 05:39:28 GMT2009-11-25 13:39:28 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Local residents carry a body of a victim recovered at the scene of a massacre of a political clan in the southern township of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, the Philippines, Nov. 24, 2009. The province of Maguindanao has been placed under a state of emergency after some 46 people were killed on 23 November in the worst-ever election related violence in the country. (Xinhua/Stringer)

Police officers recover a body from a hillside grave in Datu Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MANILA, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- The hope for finding survivors from one of the Philippines' worst killings is fading as rescuers on Wednesday recovered three more bodies from a shallow mass grave, pushing up the death toll of Monday's massacre to 49.

Ibrahim Magundadatu, Buluan town mayor of Maguindanao province, told local television that the latest victims are all male. The bodies were unearthed from the same hillside grave in Amputuan town where 25 bodies were recovered Tuesday.

Local television network ABS-CBN reported that one of the latest massacre victims wore a "UNTV" T-shirt. The body was dug up along with a maroon Toyota Vios, which has been reported missing since Monday.

Around 100 militiamen ambushed a convoy of 51 journalists, lawyers, and supporters of Buluan town vice mayor Esmail Mangudadatu en route to register him as candidate for the provincial governor post in next year's election. They were herded away from the main road and shot or hacked to death.

National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina told media that initial investigation reports indicated that the group responsible for the execution was led by the mayor of Datu Unsay -- Andal Ampatuan Jr, the archrival of Mangudadatu in next year's provincial election. His father, Andal Ampatuan Sr, is three-time governor of Maguindanao and owns a considerable size of private army, police said.

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has placed Maguindanao and two neighboring areas under the emergency rule -- which gives security forces more freedom to arrest and detain suspects. But still no arrests were made by Wednesday noon.

Magundadatu earlier said that the only four survivors from the massacre were with him but it is not yet confirmed by national authorities.

Bai Fatima Sinsuat, a senior local Red Cross official, said victims were brutally killed and, based on information of Red Cross personnel, some female victims were raped.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
(English Only)
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.