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Archive for Sunday, December 13, 2009

Militants attack jail, 31 inmates freed

December 13, 2009

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— Scores of suspected Islamic militants knocked down a concrete wall and barged into a jail in the volatile southern Philippines today, freeing 31 inmates in a nighttime attack that sparked a gunbattle in which two people were killed, officials said.

Vice Governor Al Rasheed Sakalahul of Basilan island said 70 heavily armed men cut through padlocks with boltcutters after using a sledgehammer to destroy the wall at the provincial jail in Isabela city to free several detained Muslim guerrillas. Other inmates also dashed to freedom, he said.

The daring assault sparked a brief clash that killed one attacker and a jail guard. The attackers and prisoners fled in several vehicles toward Basilan’s jungle-covered mountainous heartland, Sakalahul said.

“All these are high-risk prisoners,” Sakalahul said, adding that troops were closing in on some of the fleeing inmates.

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