12 killed, 8 others, including town mayor, wounded in Lanao del Norte ambush

Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan of Nunungan town, Lanao del Norte recuperates at a hospital in Iligan City following the ambush on his campaign party Thursday night that left 12 dead and himself and eight others wounded. (photo by Richel Umel, AFP)

The online news portal of TV5

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2- 11:53 a.m., April 26)  Twelve persons were killed and eight others, including the mayor of Nunungan town, Lanao del Norte were wounded in an ambush Thursday evening, the worst incident of violence during the run-up to the May elections.

But police attributed the incident to a "rido," or blood feud, usually among warring clans, and not to politics.

Many of the victims were young people from their teens to mid-20s.

Mayor Abdulmalik Manamparan, who is running for vice mayor under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said he and his party were on their way home from campaigning in Barangay Malaig in the town when “dozens” of gunmen opened fire on the dump truck they were riding around 6:30 p.m.

Police placed the number of attackers at between 10 to 15.

"It was indiscriminate firing for about 20 minutes. Men, women everyone was gunned," Manamparan, 62, said. The mayor was being treated for a shrapnel wound that grazed his head.

Among the dead was Manamparan's daughter, Adnani, 32, and several other relatives. A number of the victims also had the same family names.

The 11 other fatalities were identified as:

  • Baobi Manamparan, 25
  • Sadam Manamparan, 23
  • Johani Bantuas, 21
  • Sami Sanayon, 21
  • Baby Dimasangcay, 16
  • Lala Diamrang, 54
  • Apipa Mamantuc, 18
  • Saidona Mamantuc, 52
  • Hamdan Mamantuc, 18
  • Alinor Mamantuc, 19
  • Maliha Sultan, 17

Aside from the mayor, wounded were:

  • Amira Manamparan Labe, 15
  • Wilfredo Vega, 44
  • PO1 Frenel Laguting, 24
  • Lili Macaraya, 16
  • Nuaman Watamama, 17
  • Aiman Dimasangcay, 15
  • Nobaisa Otto, 19

The Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion sent troops and an ambulance to evacuate the victims.

The soldiers had to carry the casualties out of the ambush site because the road was impassable to the ambulance.

Senior Superintendent Gerardo Rosales, Lanao del Norte provincial police director, described the ambush site as "isolated" and that it took four hours to evacuate the casualties.

The mayor told TV5’s “Good Morning Club” that he is now in stable condition. "I am ok now. Although I am still having difficulty rising from my bed and walking," he said.

Rosales said it was Manamparan himself who said the ambush was the offshoot of a rido.

"Sa kanila mismo nanggaling, sa grupo nila Mayor, na may sinasabi silang mga pangalan ng responsable dito. Sila rin nagsabi na ito ay rido (It came from them, from the mayor's group, they were mentioning names of those allegedly responsible. They themselves said it was a rido)," Rosales said.

Manamparan did not deny this, saying there have been feuds within their clan.

"Yes, I've received threats. But it's hard to pinpoint as of now who is possibly behind this," Manamparan said.

But he added that the possibility of the gunmen being hired killers should not yet be discounted.