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Four dead in Philippines shooting rampage

MANILA, March 6, 2011 (AFP) – A disgruntled former village official in the central Philippines went on a shooting rampage Sunday, killing four people and critically wounding three others, police said.

Noel Ayalin, a former village leader in Silay city, barged into a community meeting and shot at the officials present one by one, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Allan Guisihan said.

“This is connected to local political rivalry,” Guisihan said, noting that one of the victims had beaten Ayalin in previous elections.

Guisihan said a manhunt had been launched to find the gunman, who fled after the shooting.

Political killings are common in the Philippines, where rights advocates say a proliferation of unlicensed firearms and a culture of impunity pervades, specially in the countryside.

In 2009, a powerful Muslim clan in the southern Philippines allegedly massacred 57 people in the worst political killing in the country’s history.

The victims included a group of journalists and relatives of the Muslim clan’s rival who set out to file his nomination papers with the local election office.

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