Security tight in Sharif Aguak amid attacks on Ampatuan clan
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2015 - 12:28pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - The police and military on Thursday imposed tighter security in the surroundings of Sharif Aguak to prevent the recurring gun attacks on houses of Ampatuan clan members at the center of the municipality.

Captain Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said their commander, Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, had ordered military units in Sharif Aguak and nearby towns to help the provincial police guard the municipality to forestall a repeat of the incidents.

Gunmen shot with M-16 assault rifles the houses of the acting mayor of Sharif Aguak and his father early this week, causing tension in the municipality.

There are politicians in Sharif Aguak who are locked in deep-seated political intramurals. 

Local police and military officials said a bystander named Ali Dimaludin was hit by a stray bullet in the latest shooting incident. He was immediately rushed to a hospital by responding policemen and barangay officials.

Two groups reportedly crawled near the houses of Akmad Ampatuan, former mayor of Salibo town in northwest of Maguindanao, and his son, Marop, the acting mayor of Shariff Aguak, and opened fire with assault rifles.

The older Ampatuan is a new witness to the infamous Nov. 23, 2009 “Maguindanao Massacre,” which left 58 people dead, more than half of them journalists.

He survived an ambush last month, just days after he signed affidavits testifying against the alleged masterminds in the massacre.

Acting Mayor Ampatuan assumed Sharif Aguak’s mayoral post more than two months ago after the mayor, Zahara Ampatuan, daughter-in-law of former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., abandoned her post after a court issued a warrant for her arrest in connection with a 2014 murder case.

The latest attack on the houses of the Ampatuans was the fourth since early 2014.

The incident occurred after gunmen fired automatic rifles at the adjoining houses of detained former Gov. Ampatuan and his son, Andal, Jr, former mayor of nearby Datu Unsay town, both detained and being prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the massacre incident five years ago.

Gunmen had also shot with rifles last December the house of the municipal mayor, Zahara, who has been absent from office since the court ordered her arrest.

Petinglay said combatants of mechanized units in Sharif Aguak have been directed to conduct routine patrols in the surroundings of the municipality as part of the security measures meant to stave off escalation of violence in the area.

“While it is the police that plays the lead role in addressing this concern, the 6th ID is not taking it lightly. We are helping address this security issue,” Petinglay said.

ACTING MAYOR AMPATUAN AGUAK AKMAD AMPATUAN ALI DIMALUDIN AMPATUAN ANDAL AMPATUAN SR. CAPTAIN JO-ANN PETINGLAY DATU UNSAY EDMUNDO PANGILINAN INFANTRY DIVISION SHARIF AGUAK
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