Death toll up to 46 in Philippine killings
The Philippines declared emergency rule in two southern provinces on Tuesday as the death toll from a mass execution rose to 46, with 22 more bodies found in a grave.
Police Chief Supt. Josefino Catalune said 11 bodies were found before sundown in a remote hilly area in Maguindanao province on the restive southern island of Mindanao. Eleven other bodies were recovered there earlier in the day.
The victims, who included family members and supporters of a local politician and journalists, had been travelling Monday in a three-van convoy in Ampatuan township. They had been travelling to register vice-mayor Ismael Mangudadatu of Buluan township to run for provincial governor in a May 2010 election.
Dozens of gunmen are reported to have abducted the group.
Soldiers and police initially found 24 bodies sprawled on the ground or shot in the vehicles at the scene of the abduction on Monday.
Mangudadatu's wife, Genalyn, and his two sisters are among the dead. Mangudadatu said four witnesses told him the gunmen were followers of his fierce rival, Andal Ampatuan Jr., a town mayor who belongs to a powerful group.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared states of emergency in the provinces of Maguindanao and nearby Sultan Kudarat. The declaration allows security forces to conduct random searches and erect checkpoints to pursue the gunmen.
The southern Philippines has a history of violence during elections, due to the presence of armed groups. Muslim insurgents have been waging a campaign since the 1970s, while some politicians maintain private militias.