6 Pax Mangudadatu supporters hurt in ambush

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – Six supporters of Pax Mangudadatu, a candidate for governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, were wounded in an ambush Monday in Datu Unsay town in Maguindanao.

The victims were on their way home to Ampatuan town after escorting Mangudadatu who filed his certificate of candidacy at the regional office of the Commission on Elections here when they were fired upon by unidentified assailants. The ambush occurred around 5pm in Barangay Iginagampong, Datu Unsay.

Wounded in the attack were Abonais Sangki, Nasruddin Malgas, Aladdin Malgas, Abdulatip Tungko, Wahida Kla and a still unidentified male. Kla is reportedly the wife of a barangay captain of Ampatuan town.

According to Sangki, armed men wearing bonnets emerged on the road and tried to flag down their vehicle. Sensing danger, however, he told the driver not to stop and that was when the armed men started firing at them with high-powered guns.

Police said they were still investigating the incident and the motive behind it.

“As of now we could not issue a definite statement on the incident. We’re still investigating if private armed groups or whoever were involved,” Inspector Archie Pajaro, police chief of Datu Unsay said in mixed English and Tagalog.

For his part, Sangki said he was not sure who the attackers were.

Meanwhile, Mangudadatu said he believes the ambush was not election related.

Mangudadatu’s media bureau chief Teng Garcia said the former three-term governor of Sultan Kudarat (1998-2007) surmised that the incident could also just be a holdup attempt.

Garcia said Mangudadatu wishes to have a peaceful election in the ARMM.

Mangudadatu also served as congressman of Sultan Kudarat from 2007 to 2010 but withdrew his reelection bid in 2011 as he was already planning to run for ARMM governor this year. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)