Article published on the 2009-11-24 Latest update 2009-12-04 14:42 TU
A policeman stands guard at the scene of a massacre of a political clan, which included several journalists, on the outskirts of Ampatuan, Maguindanao in southern Philippines.
The Philippines has declared a state of emergency in parts of the south of the country after 46 people were killed in a savage political massacre. Tensions have increased as police on Mindanao Island retrieved bullet-ridden bodies from shallow graves.
Gunmen allegedly employed by a local political chief abducted and shot dead a group of rival politicians and journalists.
Troops were deployed across the Maguindanao province after Philippine President Gloria Arroyo declared a state of emergency in the area.
"There is an urgent need to prevent and suppress the occurrence of several other incidents of lawless violence," said the President.
According to the authorities, more than 40 people were abducted by gunmen linked to the Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, head of a muslim clan who is part of Arroyo's ruling coalition.
Fourteen of the victims were women and some were journalists who had no apparent links to clan wars according to the police and military.
The abducted group was made up of relatives and associates of Esmael Mangudadatu the head of a rival muslim clan in Muguindnao.
Violence related to politics is common in the Philippines and dozens of people are murdered each election season. Millions of unlicensed guns flow freely among a population of 92 million.
2009-11-24 10:04 TU