World Bulletin / News Desk
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday denied any involvement in the jailbreak in the southern Philippines early morning Sunday.
The MILF military spokesman, Eid Kabalu, in an interview said "the MILF has nothing to do with the jailbreak in Basilan Provincial Jail."
Thirty-one people, including Muslim commanders, escaped in a jailbreak in Basilan on Sunday, Philippines officials said.
An official said that MILF commanders was among one of those freed.
Even the government pointed blame to MILF forces as the group behind the massive jailbreak.
But MILF said in a statement, "Kabalu clarified that only Commander Dan Asnawi aka Laksaw was the MILF among the escapees, even as he pointed to certain Long Sulaiman as the commander of the armed men that forcibly swooped in to the jail.
Kabalu siad Asnawi just "took advantage of the situation to escape." The real targets of rescue operation were the Abu Sayyaf prisoners, he said.
Saying that an internal investigation by the MILF is underway, Kabalu called on Asnawi to get in touch the MILF leadership.
Scores of the escapees, including Commander Asnawi, were being charged of multiple murder in relation to the case of beheadings of 10 Philippine marine soldiers following the encounter between government forces and MILF fighters at Baragnay Guinanta in Albarka, Basilan last July 10, 2007.
GMANews quoted President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's spokesman, Cerge Remonde as saying "that based on initial findings, the incident will not affect government talks with MILF."
Last week, the government and the MILF resumed formal peace talks in Malaysia.
"So far we do not believe it will affect the peace process right now," Remonde said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
Jailbreaks are common in the Philippines, where many of the more than 1,000 penitentiaries across the archipelago are overcrowded and guards are underpaid.