Philippine massacre suspect surrenders, says innocent

Philippine massacre suspect surrenders, says innocent

Amid rising criticism about the perceived slow response to Monday's slaughter in the troubled south of the country, authorities finally took Andal Ampatuan Jnr into custody while implementing sweeping security measures.

However Ampatuan Jnr insisted he did not orchestrate the horrifying killings in his home province of Maguindanao, where his family has been a dominant political force for decades.
"There is no truth to that," he told reporters at an airport in General Santos, a major city in the south, when asked whether he was behind the murders.

It was his first public comment since the massacre and was made after he peacefully surrendered at his Maguindanao mansion, from where he was flown by helicopter to General Santos en route to meet investigators in Manila.

However authorities did not say that Ampatuan Jnr was under formal arrest.
Philippine government officials had been negotiating since Tuesday with Ampatuan's family for him to submit to questioning.

The massacre occurred after about 100 Ampatuan gunmen allegedly abducted a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, plus a group of journalists.

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