06/28/2012, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Another key Maguidanao massacre witness dies

Alijiol Ampatuan was killed in a shootout. He had decided to testify at the trial for the massacre that claimed the lives of 57 people. He had not been heard from since February. Man is the sixth witness to be murdered since 2010.

Maguindanao (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The suspicious deaths of potential witnesses to the Maguindanao massacre (Mindanao) continue. Today police confirmed the killing of Ampatuan Alijiol present during the massacre of 57 people of the clan Magudadatu on November 23, 2009. He was a relative of Andal Ampatuan Sr., former governor of the autonomous region of Mindanao (Autonomus Region in Muslim Mindanao - ARMM), considered the instigator of the massacre.

Marcelo Pintac, Maguidanao superintendent of police, said there had been no reports of Alijiol Ampatuan since last February. He had decided to work as a prosecution witness at the trial of the Ampatuan clan. The man was killed in a shooting incident in late February in the town of Shariff Aguak (Maguindanao). Alijiol Ampatuan is the sixth witness to be murdered since January 2010. Among those killed self-confessed killer Suwaid Uphan, murdered June 14, 2010.

Relatives of victims have repeatedly accused the police of not providing adequate protection to witnesses and their families. More than two years after the massacre, the process is stalled. To date none of the 196 defendants have yet been sentenced definitively. Among them also Andal Ampatuan Jr., son of former governor of Maguidanano, on trial for 41 of the 57 murders.

 

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