Philippines: Motive for Muslim MP’s murder unclear

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…According to the ‘Stratfor Intelligence Report,’ – a private intelligence firm – a former Abu Sayyaf member said “Akbar left the group after a few years because he was not given a leadership position.”

Akbar reportedly continued to support the group financially, while serving as the governor of Basilan province, but he is believed to have parted company with the group since becoming a Basilan representative in the national Congress this year. Basilan is one of the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, considered the stronghold of Abu Sayyaf.

Despite these reports, the family of the victim have discarded the terrorist link and blamed political adversaries for the killing. Politically-motivated killings are a routine occurrence in the Philippines, where nearly 140 people were killed in connection with the congressional elections held in May. A senior election official was shot dead in Manila last weekend.

…Commenting on possible motives, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said intelligence reports received two weeks ago indicated there were threats to Akbar’s life. “We’re using it as a lead,” he told INQUIRER.net – the parent website of local newspaper The Daily Inquirer – in a phone interview on Wednesday. He also added that “the source of the information is very reliable.”

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