Massacre in Mindanao
The “Lede” of the New York Times has a blog post about the recent massacre on Mindanao Island, Philippines. According to latest reports, the death toll has reached 57 and the President has called for a state of emergency.
The Lede alludes to the possibility that the massacre is linked to former provincial governor, and head of the powerful Ampatuan clan, Andal Ampatuan. Many consider the Ampatuan clan a government backed militia used to suppress Islamist rebels, like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Those massacred were from the rival Mangudadatu clan. They were killed while en route to file gubernatorial candidacy papers for the clan’s leader Esmael Mangudadatu. Amongst the dead were Mr. Mangudadatu’s wife and daughter. Mr. Mangudadatu is a Vice Mayor of a district in Maguindanao province. He was unharmed in the attack.
Filipino broadcaster Marites Vitug, called the clan violence a “monster” created by the government. Vitug further stated “[President] Arroyo not only faces a political problem here but the possibility that there may be massive retaliation or rido. When it comes to rido, women, children and old people are never touched. But Monday’s atrocity has changed all that.”
Clan retaliation (or “rido”) has prompted worries form President Arroyo and the central government. According to a USAID research project, there were 218 cases of rido in Maguindanao province (where the massacre occurred) from the 1930s to 2005.