[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Witness: 'We just followed orders'
Witness to Philippines massacre tells Al Jazeera local mayor ordered killings.
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2009 13:47 GMT

A man who says he was a witness to Monday's massacre in the southern Philippines has told Al Jazeera how he was ordered to kill members of a rival political clan - including women and children - and to make sure no evidence was left behind.

The witness, who identified himself only as "Boy", said he was among more than 100 armed men who held up a convoy of political campaigners and journalists before taking them to a remote mountainous area where they were then killed.

Speaking to Al Jazeera's correspondent Marga Ortigas, "Boy" said the orders had come directly from Andal Ampatuan Jr., a local mayor and a member of a politically powerful local with close ties to the Philippines president.

"Datu Andal himself said, he said to us: anyone from the Mangudadatu clan - women or children - should be killed... We don't ask why, we just followed orders."

"Someone called and said soldiers were on their way"

"Boy"
Witness to massacre

At least 57 people died in the massacre, believed to be the worst ever politically-related killings in the Philippines.

"Boy", who is now in hiding fearing his life is in danger, said all of the women in the group had been raped before being killed.

Their bodies were then dumped in mass graves that had already been dug out in advance using an excavator.

He said that Ampatuan Jr had also ordered that the reporters accompanying the convoy should also be killed to cover-up what had happened.

Warning

"That too was ordered by Datu Andal… because they didn't want any evidence left behind," he said.

At least 57 people died in the Philippines worst politically-related massacre [Reuters]
"Boy" said the whole process had lasted little more than an hour before the gunmen had to abruptly abandon the scene following a warning that members of the military were nearby.

"We didn't get to finish, which is why the excavator was left there," he said.

"Someone called and said soldiers were on their way. I feel they have connections among the soldiers."

Speaking with his face covered to his identity, "Boy" said he was supposed to have been an active participant in the massacre but did not actually kill any of the victims.

He said he would have been shot if he had tried to intervene.

"I was just standing there," he said "I was all alone… I could only leave it up to my conscience."

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list