UPDATED: 12 dead, 8 wounded in Lanao Norte ambush

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/26 April)- Twelve political supporters of a town mayor died and eight others were wounded when unidentified gunmen waylaid them while on their way back to the center of Nunungan town in Lanao del Norte Thursday night, officials said.

Nunungan town Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan was among those wounded along with two relatives. Among those killed in the ambush was his 32-year-old daughter, Adnanie Manamparan.

Lt. Gen. Rey Ardo, commanding general of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command, said the motive of the ambush, which reportedly happened at around 7 p.m., was “rido aggravated by politics” in Nunungan and the nearby town of Pecong.

“Manamparan has a 20-year old feud with his relatives and some politicians from nearby Pecong town. This was aggravated by the intense political rivalry in that town,” Ardo said.

Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero, commander of the Army’s 1st infantry Division, said 12 supporters of the mayor died in the incident.

He said that Manamparan was brought to the Iligan City Mercy Hospital for treatment.

“They were ambushed by suspected rival political candidates,” said Lucero without naming names.

He said that pursuit operations against the suspects were immediately conducted by elements of the 35th Infantry Battalion.

Lucero also cited rido or family feud as another possible motive for the attack in the convoy of Manamparan.

“Late last year, a peace covenant and rido settlements were initiated by the Army but apparently broke down during the campaign period,” the military official said.

Manamparan, who is on his last term as mayor, is running for vice mayor of Nunungan town under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

His son Dondon is running for the mayoralty race against three other candidates, including two Manamparan family members.

Supt. Gerardo Rosales, Lanao del Norte police director, said Mayor Manamparan and his supporters just came from a political rally in the hinterland village of Barangay Malaig and were returning to the town proper when they were waylaid by 10 to 15 gunmen.

“The mayor and his supporters were riding together in a four-wheeler truck because the six kilometer road to Barangay Malaig was really rough and muddy,” Rosales said.

Rosales said the mayor had only one policeman-bodyguard at that time because the police had been strictly enforcing the ban on bodyguards by the Commission on Elections.

The policeman-bodyguard, Police Officer 1 Frenel Lagutin, was among the wounded.

Those who died were identified as Adnanie Manamparan, 32, years old, daughter of Mayor Manamparan; Baobi Manamparan, 25; Sadam Manamparan, 23; Johani Bantuas, 21; Sami Sanayon, 21; Baby Dimasangcay, 16; Lala Diamrang, 54; Apipa Mamantuc, 18; Saidona Mamantuc, 52; and Hamdan Mamantuc, 18; Alinor Mamantuc, 19; and Maliha Sultan, 17.

Besides Mayor Manamparan, 62, the other wounded were identified as Amera Manamparan Labe, 15; Wilfredo Vega, 44; PO1 Laguting, 24; Lily Macaraya, 16; Noaman Watamama, 17; Aiman Dimasangcay, 15 and Nobaisa Otto, 19. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)