Sema’s alleged gunman dies

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Investigators still looking into the motives behind Sema's ambush

MANILA, Philippines – The alleged gunman of Cotabato City Vice Mayor Muslimin Sema died of gunshot wounds Tuesday afternoon, the police told media.

The alleged triggerman was identified as Zermin Abdullah. He was wounded in a brief firefight with Sema’s security aides Tuesday morning, after he allegedly fired at Sema’s vehicle while the vice mayor was on his way home.

Abdullah was brought to the Cotobato Regional Medical Center but died hours later, according to Senior Supt. Danny Reyes, acting Cotabato City police chief.

Sema survived the ambush.

The vice mayor is chairperson of the central committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which signed a peace deal with the Ramos administation in 1994 and whose troops have been integrated into the police and the military.

But Sema is caught in a power struggle with Nur Misuari, the founding chair of the MNLF, who is insisting that he is still the MNLF boss. The Organization of Islamic Conference acknowledges Misuari as the MNLF chair, but the local members of the former rebel movement acknowledge Sema’s leadership, according to senior military officers familiar with the internal politics of the movement.

Sema has also apparently parted ways with a former political ally, the incumbent Cotabato mayor Japal Guiani Jr. over reports that Sema intends to run for mayor against Guiani in the 2013 local elections. –



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