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Politician ordered Philippine massacre
Manila, Nov 27 (Agencies):
Published on 27 Nov. 2009 11:32 PM IST
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A Philippine politician ordered soldiers, police and other gunmen to kill at least 57 defenceless people in a horrifying slaughter that saw women shot in the genitals, the government alleged on Friday. In the most detailed account yet of Monday’s election-linked massacre, which has sent shockwaves through the Southeast Asian nation, an emotional Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said female victims may have also been raped. “It was horrible. I cannot begin to describe it,” Devanadera told the GMA television network, recounting what she had seen of the bodies as well as the testimony of many of those who had taken part in the killings. Devanadera said the witnesses told prosecutors that local mayor Andal Ampatuan Jnr ordered his private militia of more than 100 gunmen to open fire on the group of people on a remote farming area in the southern Philippines. The gunmen had a short time earlier abducted a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival Muslim politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, plus a batch of local journalists. The group had been travelling to an election office so Mangudadatu’s wife could nominate him to run against Ampatuan Jnr for the post of Maguindanao province governor in next year’s elections. Fifty seven bodies have since been recovered from shallow graves in the killing fields close to a town bearing the Ampatuan name. At least 22 of the victims were women, police said earlier. Twenty-seven victims were journalists and 15 were motorists who were driving past the area at the wrong time, all of whom were apparently killed to eliminate witnesses. Ampatuan Jnr, who surrendered to authorities on Thursday and was taken to Manila where he was expected soon to be charged with mass murder, has denied any involvement and blamed Muslim rebels for the killings. But Devanadera said many of those who took part in the massacre were clear that Ampatuan Jnr was at the scene of the murders, ordered them to open fire and even shot people himself. “The order was to kill them all... it appeared premeditated,” she told GMA. “One of the witnesses said he (Ampatuan Jnr) was the one who was ordering them... another witness saw him firing his gun as well.” Devanadera said some of those who took part in the killings, or were ordered to be involved, had come forward because of the guilt they felt.

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