PRISON BREAK

More than 50 inmates recaptured or killed after biggest ever jailbreak in the Philippines

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 7:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 7:48pm

More than 50 of the 158 inmates who escaped in the biggest jailbreak ever in the Philippines have been caught or killed, officials said on Friday, with a manhunt underway for the others.

Of the prisoners who escaped after suspected heavily armed Muslim rebels stormed a jail in the country’s south, 43 have been recaptured and eight were killed.

Two others are being treated in hospital for injuries, said Maria Joyce Birrey, the Cotabato provincial police spokeswoman. As well, a jail guard died in the attack on the jail and a village official who allegedly drew a gun when encountered by police was killed.

The breakout from the jail in Kidapawan took place before dawn on Wednesday when more than 100 gunmen attacked the facility. Kidapawan city is about 930km southeast of the capital, Manila, in a restive region when Muslim rebels have been active for generations.

Armed men attack prison, free 150 inmates in Philippines’ biggest jailbreak

Acting Provincial Jail Warden Superintedent Peter John Bongngat Jnr. earlier said the attackers were thought to have included members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and guerrillas who broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Muslim separatist group in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines that has signed a peace deal with the government.

The two groups have denied involvement.

The jail held 1,511 inmates, including rebels facing murder charges for a series of bombings in the province, officials said. It was the third attack on the provincial jail facility since 2007.