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Bishops, Muslim clergy condemn Mindanao carnage

By Antonio Figueroa     Nov 23, 2009 in Politics
MANILA – The Bishops Ulama Conference (BUC), a religious coalition composed of Catholic clergy and Muslim priests, has condemned in strongest possible terms the abduction and killing of 43 civilians in Maguindanao Province.
The victims, with 21 of the bodies so far recovered, included the wife of Buluan town vice mayor Ismail Mangudadatu, supporters, and journalists who were killed last Monday.
Mangudadatu, who is running for provincial governor, was supposedly part of the convoy but did not join the entourage after his mother requested him to stay. Instead, he gave an authorization to his wife, who was one of those who were killed.
The fleet was bound for Shariff Aguak town, erstwhile known as the municipality of Ampatuan, when it was intercepted and stopped by oaround 100 armed men at Barangay Kauran in Ampatuan municipality, to file his certificate of candidacy.
Archbishop Fernando Capalla, D.D., in a statement, called the carnage an “abominable sin,” adding that “this crime, unprecedented in the province, mocks our humble but painstaking efforts to build harmony and understanding in Mindanao.”
He also called on authorities “to squarely address this atrocity,” the first poll-related incident after the Commission on Elections opened its gates to the filing of certificates of candidacies last Nov. 20.
In the same vein, the global media group Reporters Without Borders also came out with its statement saying that “Never in the history of journalism have the news media suffered such a heavy loss of life in one day."
Similarly, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounced the brutal killing of colleagues by demand that the government “from Malacañang to the (ARMM) and Maguindanao, and its security forces, move swiftly to resolve this crisis and ensure that no harm befalls the hostages; and, if true that violence has been inflicted on some of the hostages, to ensure swift justice on the perpetrators, no matter who they are.”
Unconfirmed reports said that four of the journalists who joined Ismail’s wife were beheaded with chainsaws, but the authorities have yet to check on the veracity of the claim made by village leaders along the boundary shared by the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, the bailiwick of the Mangudadatu clan, and Maguindanao, the turf of the Ampatuans.
Information released by authorities identified some of the victims as lawyers Connie Brizuela and Cynthia Oquendo; Bai Eden, Bai Farinah, Farida, and Manguba Bai, all surnamed Mangudadatu; Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu, the vice mayor’s wife who reported raped before she was killed; Wahida Ali Kaliman, Rasul Daud, Abdullah Hajji, Pinky Balayman, Zorayda Vernan, Rahima Piopo, Zaida Abdul, Farida Sabdula, Victor Nuñez, Ella Balayman, Patrick Pamansan, and Meriam Calicol.
The local journalists were identified as Bong Reblando of Manila Bulletin, Bart Maravilla of Bombo Radyo Koronadal, Neneng Montano of radio dxCP, Henry Araneta of dzRH Cotabato, Ian Toblan, Leah Dalmacio, Gina dela Cruz, Joy Duhay, Andy Teodoro, and Mac-Mac Areola whose media organizations were not mentioned in the report.
More about Mindanao, Bishop ulama conference, Maguindanao
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