- Title: PHILIPPINES: Police arrest one of the primary suspects in 2009 massacre.
- Date: 30th August 2012
- Summary: MAGUINDANAO PROVINCE, PHILIPPINES (FILE - NOVEMBER 23, 2009) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) POLICE INVESTIGATORS NEAR BODIES COVERED WITH BANANA LEAVES ABANDONED CAR VICTIM'S SHOES WIDE VIEW OF MASSACRE SITE HEAVY MACHINERY LIFTING WRECKED MEDIA CAR WRECKED MEDIA CAR HEAVY MACHINERY DIGGING BODIES INSIDE MOUND BODIES INVESTIGATORS INSPECTING BODY
- Embargoed: 14th September 2012 13:00
- Location: Philippines
- Country: Philippines
- Topics: Crime
- Reuters ID: LVADFCY3P8VNTGR7ONS5DVJTYOK3
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Police arrest one of the primary suspects behind the 2009 massacre in the southern Philippines that killed 57 people, including journalists, bringing the number of suspects arrested to more than 100.
One of the primary suspects behind the 2009 massacre in the southern Philippines has been arrested in Manila, authorities told local media on Wednesday (August 29).
Anwar Upam Ampatuan, also known as Datu Ulo and grandson of the patriarch of the Ampatuan clan behind the massacre in the southern Philippines, was captured inside a gated village following a police manhunt operation on Tuesday (August 28) night.
He was accused of taking part in the murder of 57 people, including 30 journalists, in what was dubbed as the worst politically motivated violence in the southern Philippines.
Witnesses had pointed to the 22-year-old as among the suspects who shot the wife of a rival politician, who is now the current governor of the southern Maguindanao province.
Ampatuan's lawyer denied the accusation.
"He continues to say and to believe that he is innocent; he has not committed any crimes, and therefore there is actually no reason for him to be arrested and incarcerated," said lawyer Paris Real.
Gunmen allegedly led by the political clan of the Ampatuans stopped the convoy of their rival political opponent at a highway in Maguindanao province, killed them and hastily buried the victims in mass graves.
Authorities have arrested over 102 suspects since the manhunt began nearly three years ago, including the suspected masterminds Ampatuan Sr. and Ampatuan Jr. who are currently facing trial.
Police are still searching for 94 suspects who remain at large, most of them belonging to the private militia charged with keeping peace in the restive southern Philippines.
Human rights groups have condemned the massacre and urged the government to speed up the prosecution of the case, which officials said could last several years.
The recent arrest was an important development in the Aquino government's effort to bring justice to the victims of the massacre.
Anwar Upam is set to be arraigned next week and plead his innocence before the court.
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None