Philippines Police Name 161 Suspects in Maguindanao Massacre

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* A daily summary of global reports on security issues. Police in the Philippines on Wednesday named 161 suspects in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao Province last month as the case against the massacre leaders intensifies. The list includes government militiamen as well as members of the powerful Ampatuan clan, now facing charges of murder and rebellion. Meanwhile, the Philippine Congress convened on Wednesday to discuss last week's imposition of martial law in Maguindanao. According to the Associated Press, the new suspects have been identified by eyewitnesses. Police said the militiamen, all but two at large, were identified by witnesses Tuesday. ... The mug shots of about 100 newly identified suspects were displayed at the national police headquarters in Manila. Of 161 suspects identified by authorities, 100 are militiamen and the remainder are members of the Ampatuan clan or are police, army and local officials working for the Ampatuans. About 30 of them have been arrested. Witnesses also claimed that clan leader and mayor of Datu Unsay Andal Ampatuan Jr. led the attack and himself shot some of the victims of the massacre, reports the Philippine online daily Inquirer.Net. The Inquirer says that according to Rainer Ebus, one of the police officers involved in the killings, "it was Ampatuan Jr. who gave the order to kill everyone and shot at the victims several times to make sure they are all dead." The Inquirer adds that the Maguindanao massacre was planned as early as Nov. 20, when armed militiamen loyal to the Ampatuan clan established checkpoints along national highways. Ampatuan's father and other relatives have also been arrested on separate charges of rebellion, according to the AP. Aside from murder charges, prosecutors also drew up a case of rebellion against the Ampatuans and their supporters for allegedly fomenting armed resistance to prevent their arrests - a justification for the martial law proclamation. Some lawmakers and legal scholars worried that the rebellion charges, a political rather than a criminal offense, might dilute the murder case. …


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