Four killed in violence ahead of national elections
Four people were killed ahead of elections in the Philippines on Monday, with three people fatally shot when police raided the compound of a mayoral candidate. A cousin of a provincial vice governor was gunned down in a separate incident.
AFP - Four people were killed in two separate outbursts of violence related to national elections held in the Philippines on Monday, authorities said.
Three people were shot dead and 10 others wounded when police clashed with supporters of a mayoral candidate in the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay before dawn, local military spokesman Captain Arnold Gasalatan said.
Police raided the compound of the candidate, whose bodyguards and supporters suffered all the casualties, Gasalatan said.
The cause of the clash was unclear but the police were ordered back to their stations, he said, adding the military had secured the area pending an investigation.
In another incident in the south, a cousin of the vice governor in North Cotabato province was gunned down while riding on a motorcycle before polls opened, regional police said in a statement.
He and another man on the motorbike were ambushed in Kidapawan town, according to the statement. The other man was wounded but his injuries were not life threatening.
Police said they suspected the gunmen were supporters of a rival candidate.
About 40 million Filipinos were expected to go to the polls on Monday to elect more than 17,000 positions from the president down to town councilor.
Violence always plagues elections in the Philippines, with local politicians often using gunmen to eliminate rivals' challenges or intimidate voters.
Monday's killings brings to at least 33 the number of people killed in political violence over the past four months, according to police statistics.
This does not include 57 people massacred in the southern Maguindanao province in November last year, allegedly by a powerful Muslim clan to stop a rival from running for provincial governor.