13 Dead in attack on electoral caravan in Philippines

Manila, Apr 26 (EFE).- At least 13 people died and another nine were wounded when a group of armed men opened fire on an electoral caravan in the southern Philippines, police said Friday.

The attack occurred Thursday night on a remote mountain road near the town of Nunungan on Mindanao island, when some 15 armed men cut off the procession of partisans who were returning from their campaign rally.

The gunmen opened fire killing 12 people including the daughter and a granddaughter of Nunungan Mayor Abdul Manamparan.

The politician was wounded along with another nine people, one of whom died later, regional military comander Daniel Lucero told the daily Inquirer.

Police suspect that the attack was planned by a rival clan.

At least 62 people have died in some 72 violent incidents since campaigning began in February, according to police records.

Feuds between clans over political rivalries or land ownership are common in Muslim-majority provinces in the southern region of the Philippines.

The worst massacre in this region occurred in 2009 when 58 people, including 32 journalists, were killed in an attack by the Ampatuan clan against the electoral march of political rival Ismail Mangudadatu.

During the commemorative events on the third anniversary of that massacre, Human Rights Watch urged Philippine President Benigno Aquina to do away with the dozens of private militias that are contracted by powerful clans throughout the country.