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20 SUSPECTS IN CONNECTION WITH PHILIPPINES MONDAY'S MASSACRE, ARRESTED

Security forces in the southern Philippines have arrested 20 people in connection with Monday's massacre on the island of Mindanao.
The arrests come after police discovered another 11 bodies buried in shallow graves, taking the death toll in what is believed to have been the Philippines' worst politically-linked killing, to at least 57.
  • The first funerals of some of the victims are expected to take place on Thursday, although several others have yet to be identified.
  • Officials have named a local mayor, Andal Ampatuan Jr, as the lead suspect in the massacre and said they expect to take him into custody later on Thursday.
  • "We are expecting Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr to be turned over peacefully to the authorities anytime today," Lieutenant-Colonel Romeo Brawner, a military spokesman, told reporters.
  • Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from the town of Buluan close to the massacre site in Maguindanao province, said Ampatuan had told the authorities he would submit himself to investigators to show that he is "willing to co-operate" with the government.
  • Ampatuan is a member of a powerful local political family, and the son of the provincial governor who himself is a close political ally of the Philippine president, Gloria Arroyo.
Source: The Agencies
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