4 policemen killed, governor wounded in southern Philippine ambush

Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales
Davao and Cotabato, Philippines
4 policemen killed, governor wounded in southern Philippine ambush Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters clean their rifles inside a security checkpoint at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, a town in Maguindanao province, southern Philippines, June 22, 2019.
Jojo Riñoza/BenarNews

Four policemen were killed and three other people, including a provincial governor, were wounded in a roadside ambush in the volatile southern Philippines on Friday, officials said. 

The police officers were escorting a convoy transporting Gov. Mamintal Adiong when unidentified gunmen attacked them on a highway near Maguing town in Lanao del Sur province, according to his younger brother Zia Alonto Adiong, a local politician.

“Four of his escorts were killed,” Adiong told BenarNews, adding that his older brother was among three people wounded. 

“The governor is safe. He is out of danger now,” he said without elaborating.

Fahad Molok, the mayor of Maguing, told BenarNews that the area where the attack occurred was a controlled area of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Philippines’ largest former separatist group.

In 2014, the MILF signed a peace deal with Manila in exchange for control of a large Muslim autonomous area.

Under the terms of that deal, former MILF fighters agreed to give up their arms in exchange for money. A small number were also trained as police officers and members of the army.

The deal however did not sit well with some of the fighters, and many of them splintered and joined other rebel factions, or turned to banditry or guns for hire, officials said.

Molok said that local policemen quickly responded to the site “but the perpetrators were already gone.”

It was not immediately clear what the motive for the attack was, and whether Adiong had any armed enemies.

Intense political rivalries and clan wars are all too common in the Philippines, especially in the southern island of Mindanao where years of insurgency has led to a proliferation of firearms.


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