April 16, 2024

Heavily armed gunmen injure Filipino governor, kill 4 bodyguards

Gunmen wounded a provincial governor and killed four of his bodyguards in an attack on their convoy Friday in a southern Philippine region with a long history of violent political conflicts and Muslim rebellion, officials said.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. was shot in the waist, an aide was injured in the feet, and four bodyguards were killed by heavily armed men as their convoy passed through a village on the boundary of Lanao del Sur and Bukidnon provinces, police said.

Adiong and his aide were hospitalized in stable condition, Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong, a brother of the governor, said on Facebook.

Authorities did not immediately provide other details, including who was suspected of carrying out the attack.

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“The worst has passed. He’s out of danger,” Zia Alonto Adiong said. “We implore the authorities to act with urgency and utilize all legal means available to pursue and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Lanao del Sur is part of a five-province Muslim autonomous region in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. It is governed by former Muslim rebels in a transition arrangement under a 2014 peace pact with the government.

A large number of available firearms has often sparked violent political rivalries in the past.

In 2017, hundreds of militants affiliated with the Islamic State group laid siege to Marawi city in Lanao. Troops quelled the siege after five months in a massive ground offensive backed by airstrikes that left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly militants, and the mosque-studded city in ruins.

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