At least 49 policemen were killed on Sunday in a clash with Islamist insurgents, members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, during a hunt for a terror suspect in the south.
Mayor Tahirudin Benz Ampatuan of the town Mamasapano, initially told AP news agency. that at least 30 policemen were killed, but the Philippine police on Monday morning said the number of fatalities were at least 49.
The clash occurred in the village Tukanalipao where police were hunting a terror suspect, and lasted more than 12 hours, according to Al Jazeera.
Several sources told the news agency that is probably was a hunt for the terrorist suspects Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian citizen who may have been hiding in the Philippines since 2003 and is among the terrorists who is on the US "most wanted" list. He is suspected of being behind several fatal bombs. However, it is unclear whether bin Hir is still alive as Philippine authorities thought they had killed him in an air strike in 2012.
Multiple sources told that the police didn't work coordinated when they entered into the village on Sunday. This led to an escalation of intense fighting.
Ampatuan told the news agency that he has talked with guards and other leaders in the city, who have told him what happened.
- What they described to me was horrible, says the mayor.
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