Prisoners escape from jails via tunnels in southern Phillipine

One of the prisoners was shot by the guards while he was crawling out of the tunnel.

Prisoners escape from jails via tunnels in southern Phillipine

About a dozen prisoners, including some with ties to a small Islamic armed group, have tunneled out of a provincial jail in the southern Philippines, local police said on Wednesday.

The prisoners, some with links to the Abu Sayyaf group, escaped on Tuesday through the tunnel, about 10 metres long and 1 metre wide which police found hidden underneath books and praying mats, said Bensali Jabarani, police chief in Muslim Mindanao region.

"It was too late when the jail guards discovered the escape," Jabarani told reporters, adding a dozen prisoners had already fled before the guards found out about the jailbreak.

One of the prisoners was shot by the guards while he was crawling out of the tunnel.

"They must have been planning the escape for months," Jabarani said, adding the inmates may have received help from people outside the prison during their escape.

It was the fifth jail break in the Philippines in the first two weeks of the year, with a total of 19 prisoners escaping in the earlier incidents, police said.

Last year, 28 prison breakouts were reported in the Philippines with nearly 100 inmates escaping, fewer than 120 escapees in 36 incidents in 2007.

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

Reuters
Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2009, 16:00
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