The Filipino government has declared a state of emergency in its southern region after 46 people were killed in politically motivated violence that it calls “a gruesome massacre of civilians unequaled in recent history.”
Around 50 lawyers, journalists and relatives of Esmael Mangudadatu, a local politician and candidate for governor of Maguindanao province, were on their way to file his candidacy papers when they were abducted by a group of 100 gunmen. Mangudadatu had been warned that he would be attacked if he tried to file the papers himself and the convoy consisted mostly of women, including his wife and sister, in hopes that it would deter militants from attacking.
The Mindinao region, of which Magindanao is a part, is in the grips of an Islamist insurgency and largely outside the central government’s control. Political violence is common. Nonetheless, the brazen massacre has shocked the nation and the militay has been deployed to prevent further escalation. Mangudadatu’s supporters are blaming the killing on a rival political clan.
Very shocking and sad. It’s just hard to imagine killing that many unarmed people, mostly women. 20 of them were just journalists.