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Aquino vows justice for dead Filipino commandos on day of mourning

Channel News Asia - Saturday 31st January, 2015

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino pledged justice for the families of 44 police commandos killed by Muslim rebels during a botched anti-terror operation, as he led tributes on Friday (Jan 30) - a national day of mourning.The men were killed in confrontations with two rebel groups in the southern Philippines on Sunday while on a mission to catch or kill Malaysian bomb-maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, who is accused of involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia in which 202 people died."I feel your pain," Aquino told weeping widows, parents and children of the police commandos at an emotional memorial service inside a police camp in suburban Manila. "I pledge to bring justice to all those who were killed," said the president, sporting the same black armband worn by police attending the ceremony.An awkward silence, broken only by the sound of infants crying, filled the cramped gymnasium as Aquino personally offered his condolences to victims for the first time since the massacre, praying briefly before each white casket.In his eulogy, Chief Superintendent Noli Talino repeated a Philippine government claim - not yet independently verified - that Zulkifli was killed by a small assault force that crept up to his hut before dawn."Is it worth it? (Is) one international terrorist equivalent to 44 Special Action Force troopers. If you will ask them - it is worth it," Talino said, his voice breaking.Aquino was attacked by many for failing to attend a parade ceremon...
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