31 prisoners escape Philippine jail

Official said that Moro Islamic Liberation Front commanders was among one of those freed.

31 prisoners escape Philippine jail

Thirty-one people, including Muslim commanders, escaped in a jailbreak in the southern Philippines on Sunday, officials said.

Deputy provincial governor Al Rasheed Sakalahul said that Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders was among one of those freed.

A MILF spokesman could not be contacted for comment on the accusation.
They killed one jail guard and wounded another during a 10-minute raid at the main prison on southern Basilan island, Superintendent Abubakar Tulawie, provincial police chief, told reporters.

"We got two of them. Their bodies were abandoned just outside the jail's perimeter," Tulawie said, adding the raiders rescued two Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders detained there for their alleged role in the killing of soldiers on Basilan in 2007.

"We have organised a team together with the military units on the island to pursue them. We've started an internal inquiry to determine responsibility for the lax security in the jail."

Tulawie said the raiders used sledge hammers to make an opening on the prison's 18-foot high rear perimeter wall and used bolt cutters to destroy the padlock of a jail cell where the two commanders were held before shooting their way out.

Only four of 16 guards were on duty at that time.

The two MILF leaders who escaped were on trial for the alledged role of murder of 14 soldiers in al-Barka town in July 2007. Twenty-nine other prisoners got out.

The one-hectare facility has 65 inmates. Police authorities said it was the second mass jailbreak on the island after 53 inmates escaped during a riot in 2004.

Jailbreaks are common in the Philippines, where many of the more than 1,000 penitentiaries across the archipelago are overcrowded and guards are underpaid.


Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2009, 12:16
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