Philippine kills one, troops remain in Maguindanao

Philippines soldiers killed one person they "believed to be followers of suspects involved in the massacre of 57 people.

Philippine kills one, troops remain in Maguindanao

Philippines soldiers killed one person they "believed to be followers of suspects involved in the massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippines last month, officials said on Tuesday

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo temporarily placed Muslim-dominated Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao under military rule after the massacre.

She lifted martial law within eight days after security forces arrested Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr, patriarch of a political clan in power in Maguindanao for almost a decade, and among the suspects in the massacre of 57 people on Nov. 23.

Philippine security forces have also disarmed and disbanded Ampatuan's private army of 2,000 men, seizing more than 1,000 assault rifles, machineguns, mortars and anti-tank weapons and arresting hundreds.

On Monday night, soldiers on patrol in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao clashed for 20 minutes with an armed group "believed to be followers of the Ampatuans", Major-General Gaudencio Pangilinan, the military's operations chief, told Reuters.

Pangilinan said one member of the armed group was killed and an undetermined number were wounded.

"We did not suffer any casualty," he said, adding the soldiers were hunting down the remnants of Ampatuans' civilian militia force and searching for weapons when fired upon.

About 4,000 troops, backed by armoured vehicles, would remain in Maguindanao even though martial law has been lifted to make sure no armed group would take action against the Ampatuans and their disarmed followers, Pangilinan said.

"We're here to maintain peace and stability," he added.



Reuters
Last Mod: 15 Aralık 2009, 14:08
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