Over 100 suspects held in Philippines massacre

August 30, 2012
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MANILA, Philippines – More than 100 suspects in the Philippines' worst political massacre are in custody after another member of a prominent political clan linked to the 57 killings was arrested, AFP reported Wednesday (August 29th).

Sajid Anwar Ampatuan, 22, grandson of the accused mastermind Andal Ampatuan, Sr, was tracked down Tuesday at a middle-class housing development in Manila, police spokesman Don de Dios said.

He is accused of direct participation in the November 2009 murders in the southern province of Maguindanao.

The massacre was allegedly orchestrated by the Ampatuans in a bid to stop a political rival from challenging one of them for the post of governor in Maguindanao, which they had ruled for a decade.

The clan patriarch's son and namesake, Andal Ampatuan, Jr, allegedly led the family's relatives and bodyguards in kidnapping the rival's wife, relatives, lawyers and 32 journalists, and shooting them dead. The ensuing manhunt for 102 suspects spanned nearly three years.

But more than 90 of the gunmen, many of them earlier armed by the Philippines government to help the military and the police fight Muslim insurgents in the south, remain at large.

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