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Philippine rebels assassinate town mayor in ambush

Mario Okinlay only victim in attack on motorcycle convoy reporter, Manila

July 2, 2014

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Suspected communist rebels in Mindanao killed a town mayor in Bukidnon province on Monday in what the military described as a targeted killing.

Mario Okinlay, the mayor of Impasug-ong, was traveling in a convoy of about 20 motorcycles in the village of Bontongon when he was killed.

Military spokesman Major General Ricardo Visaya said Okinlay was on his way home from a medical mission in the village when he was ambushed.

"Mayor Okinlay was the only casualty," said Visaya, adding that the mayor was directly targeted.

Major Christian Uy, another army spokesman, said Okinlay might have been the targeted by the New People’s Army because he had asked for the military's help in providing medical assistance in local areas.

"The rebels probably wanted to discredit the military and the local government," Uy said, adding that the town of Impasug-ong used to be a rebel stronghold.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has been waging a Maoist rebellion that has killed tens of thousands since 1969.

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