04 Sep '11, 11am

AMPATUAN clan maintains a private army of up to 2,000 men #wikileaks #Maguindanao

MANILA (AFP) - The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines' worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police, leaked US embassy cables showed. The cables from late 2009, released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, described the reach of the feared Ampatuan clan in the southern region of Mindanao and said it had authorities on the run. Key members of the clan and its private army are now being tried for the murder of 57 people in Mindanao in 2009 but many of the accused are still at large, making witnesses reluctant to come forward. 'We estimate that the Ampatuan clan maintains a private army of up to 2,000 men - who are often better armed and equipped than their (police) and (military) counterparts,' an embassy cable said.

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STI...

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