Protesters in Manila call for justice after the massacre in the southern Philippines. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images.
Protesters in Manila call for justice after the massacre in the southern Philippines. Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images.

Gunmen ambushed a caravan of political supporters and journalists on their way to file election papers, killing at least 57 people in a massacre considered shocking even for a region notorious for violence between rival clans, reported the Associated Press. Thirty local reporters and their assistants were part of the Nov. 23 convoy and killed. Police said the convoy, including 22 women, were going to register Ismael Mangudadatu to run for provincial governor when they were stopped by some 100 gunmen and taken to a remote mountainous area. An official said soldiers and police later found the bodies, including those of Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and his two sisters, sprawled on the ground or shot in their vehicles about three miles from where they were ambushed. The rest of the victims, perhaps as many as 15, happened to be stopped at a checkpoint along the highway in Ampatuan, a town in Maguindanao province, when the convoy of Mangudadatu supporters and journalists was stopped by police officers and militiamen loyal to the Ampatuans, investigators said. They were killed to eliminate witnesses. In the last elections in 2007, 130 people were killed. The decades-long Muslim insurgency has killed about 120,000 people since the 1970s. But a presidential adviser, Jesus Dureza, said the massacre was “unequaled in recent history.” Police identified the prime suspect as Andal Ampatuan Jr., a local mayor, son of the provincial governor and a scion of the powerful Ampatuan clan.

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