More than 40 people were kidnapped and at least 30 killed Monday in the Philippines in what authorities consider to be a politically motivated massacre, according to the Los Angeles Times. The group of civilians, which included several journalists, was overcome by dozens of gunmen near the town of Ampatuan on the island of Mindanao, and the victims’ bodies were discovered nearby later that day. —KA
The Los Angeles Times:
In a statement, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemned the violence.
“Civilized society has no place for this kind of violence,” she said. “No effort will be spared to bring justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable to the full limit of the law.” Eid Kabalu, a leader of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, called the attacks “gruesome.”
“What we learned is that at least 41 people were seized in Ampatuan town,” he said, “and many of these were reported killed, including women.”
Late today, the Philippines National Press Club criticized what officials called the withholding of information by authorities on the fate of the journalists.
“We were shocked and grieved to hear what happened to our colleagues,” said club President Benny Antiporda.
He said the group would hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday evening at the headquarters of the National Police and the Armed Forces to protest what he suggested was government stonewalling.
“We appeal to the police, the military, the public officials to forget their friendships and other relationships with others and give priority to the search for justice for our brothers,” Antiporda said.