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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Police on Wednesday said unidentified gunmen have killed the father of a mayoralty candidate and wounded 2 of his companions in an ambush in Tungawan town in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Police said 3 motorcycle gunmen were involved in the murder of Moin Samson, whose son Carl Climaco is running for mayor in the town.  Two others men – Hasim Samson and Rashid Hassan – were both wounded in the attack which occurred late Monday near a bridge in the village of Lower Tungawan.

The victims were heading home on a motorcycle when the gunmen, who were tailing the trio, attacked them with automatic pistols. The motive of the attack is still unclear and police would not say if the ambush was politically motivated.

There was no immediate statement from the family of Climaco, but their political allies claimed that many of them were getting death threats from unknown groups.

Climaco was himself wounded in an attack by gunmen in October last year that also killed Randy Climaco, the town’s mayor, and injured 6 others, including Tungawan Vice Mayor Abdurauf Abison and a municipal council member Lovelife Caracol. The group just filed their candidacy for the May national polls when gunmen ambushed them near Batungan village.

Since then, about a dozen people – mostly supporters of the Climacos – were slain in separate gun attacks in Tungawan, and the military would not take action on the spate of killings, saying, it is the duty of the police to secure the town. (With a report from Ely Dumaboc)

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