Politics behind grenade attacks in Maguindanao town, says official

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SHARIFF Aguak, Maguindanao: The daughter of this town’s chief executive on Saturday said the grenade attacks on the family’s home was politically motivated.

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Anhara Ampatuan, town councilor and serving as acting vice mayor, said a series of gunfire followed by two grenade launcher attacks hit the family home on Friday night.

Anhara was in the house along with other family members but not her mother, Mayor Sahara Upam Ampatuan, who went on absence without official leave after she was linked to the killing of a local government employee.

Anhara, the town’s number 1 councilor, assumed as acting vice mayor after Vice Mayor Marop Ampatuan, her uncle, assumed as acting mayor when her mother left.

Anhara said she heard a series of gun fire near her home about 9 p.m. It was followed by grenade explosions.

Senior Inspector Jonathan Degracia, Shariff Aguak town police chief, said nobody was hurt in the attack which occurred in the middle of power outage in Shariff Aguak and nearby areas.

Ampatuan said it was the third time that the family’s home was subjected to attacks.

“The motive is politically motivated,” Anhara said.

“Lately, it was not only my mom but including me have received death threats,” she said.

“The text messages I received said they will get me at all cost, even if I am inside the house or at the session hall of the Sangguniang Bayan,” the 24-year-old local official said.

“It was part of the political package that you have to experience if you are in Maguindanao,” she said without naming names behind the attacks.

Anhara vehemently denied the accusations against her mother and insisted it was part of political ploy to oust her.

In a phone interview, Bai Zahara said only time can tell about the truth.

She is saddened the township she is serving has been violent this lately despite her efforts to make it peaceful to everyone.

Last Tuesday, another kin of the Ampatuans, former Datu Salibo Mayor Akmad Ampatuan was ambushed in the boundary of Talayan and Guindulungan town while on their way to Shariff Aguak. He was wounded along with his two companions.

Maguindanao police office has not issued statement whether the two incidents were related. PNA

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