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Philippines - pre-election violence

Officials raid massacre suspects' homes

Article published on the 2009-12-04 Latest update 2009-12-04 14:22 TU

The weapons cache discovered near the Ampatuan family compound on 3 December(Photo: Reuters)

The weapons cache discovered near the Ampatuan family compound on 3 December
(Photo: Reuters)

Philippine soldiers and police stormed houses belonging to the Ampatuan clan on Friday. They are suspected of being involved in the massacre of 57 people last week when gunman fired at a convoy.

More than 100 soldiers and police wearing body armour and carrying assault rifles raided the home of Andal Ampatuan Jnr and other Ampatuan clan members on Friday.

This followed the discovery of a weapons cache on Thursday, believed to have been used in the massacre, near the Ampatuan compound. It is thought there were enough weapons to arm around 500 people.

Andal Ampatuan Snr, the governor of Maguindanao, was not detained in the raid, but he has been indicted for his alleged role in the massacre, and the justice department is waiting to decide whether they can charge him in court.

Ampatuan Jnr was charged with 25 counts of murder on Tuesday for allegedly attacking a convoy containing relatives of the rival for the post of Maguindanao governor in next year’s elections, and a group of journalists.

Esmael Mangudadtu, the rival candidate, said he believed the attack was intended to stop him from running for office.

The other homes involved in the raid belonged to Akmad Ampatuan, Ampatuan Snr’s brother, the Vice Governor of Maguindanao.

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