Saturday, gunmen in the southern Philippines ambushed and murdered a Muslim rebel and 8 of his comrades in a land dispute-related ambush, officials said.
Suspected gunmen ambushed and killed nine people and wounded three others on their way towards a meeting to settle an ongoing clan feud in a secluded agricultural community in Guindulungan town in Maguindanao province, police and local authorities said.
There have been many violent settlements of land, money, and political conflicts in the South because of lax law enforcement, an overabundance of unsecured weaponry, and the existence of armed organizations under the influence of influential clans and politicians.
At least 57 people were killed, including more than 30 journalists, in a politically motivated massacre in the same area in November 2009. Including members of a well-known family, a 2019 court convicted 49 individuals guilty of various charges.
Peges Mamasainged, a Moro Islamic Liberation Front member, the strongest Muslim rebel group in the southern part of the largely Roman Catholic country that signed a peace agreement with the government in 2014, was among those murdered in the ambush on Saturday. According to the rebels, his assassination was the result of a clan dispute.
Thousands of combatants from the rebel organization have returned to civilian life as part of the peace settlement, and efforts are ongoing to demobilize the remaining insurgents. Insurgent groups affiliated to the Islamic State group continues to represent a danger, despite the fact that former rebel leaders have been elected to oversee a bigger and more powerful Muslim autonomous zone.