ZAMBOANGA CITY: An unidentified assailant fired a rifle grenade at the mansion of Mayor Zahara Upam Ampatuan of Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao in what she considers as an attempt to intimidate her.
The attack, carried out late on Friday, caused little damage as the grenade exploded on the sprawling compound of Ampatuan’s mansion.
No fatalities or injuries from the attack was reported
Ampatuan reportedly went into hiding after being accused as an accomplice in the massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, who were covering a political caravan in Maguindanao in 2009.
She denied all accusations against her and said that politics motivated those who made the allegations against her.
In a telephone interview from where she is hiding, Ampatuan said the attack was probably meant to intimidate her.
She called on her constituents and supporters to stay calm and said that she is leaving it up to authorities to investigate the attack.
“Kilala po ninyo ang pagkatao ko at ang aking hangad lagi ay kapayapaan at programa para sa aking nasasakupan [You know me and my personality and I only desire peace and programs for my constituents]. Hindi ko hangad na dagdagan pa ang ginagawang gulo sa aking bayan at ipina-uubaya ko ang lahat kay Allah [I do not want to add to the issues in my town and I am leaving everything up to Allah],” Ampatuan said.
The attack on the mayor’s house came days after unidentified gunmen ambushed Akmad Ampatuan, former town mayor of Datu Salibo town and father of Shariff Aguak officer-in-charge Maroph Ampatuan, Zahara’s political rival.
Akmad and two of his aides were injured in the ambush in Maguindanao’s Guindulungan town.
His convoy was heading to Shariff Aguak when gunmen attacked his vehicle.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Maguindanao has been the center of violence in recent months following a spate of gun attacks and killings perpetrated by armed groups actively operating in the province.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Akmad is a witness to the massacre being linked by authorities to the Ampatuan patriarch, Andal, and his sons, Zaldy and Unsay, who have denied the charges against them.