World Bulletin/News Desk
Army troops joined policemen and jail personnel Saturday in the manhunt for an undetermined number of detainees who escaped during a jailbreak that triggered a shootout killing three and wounding eight others in the Philippines Muslim south.
Sr. Supt. John Enguerra, police chief of Zamboanga del Norte province, said the jailbreak was staged by detainees of the Siocon town jail shortly before 8 p.m. Friday.
Siocon - a municipality in the greater Zamboanga province - is part of the so-called "Triple S" complex - Siocon, Sirawai and Sirawai - where Muslim rebel group the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) holds a camp, particularly on the hinterland border with Zamboanga City - a majority Christian city in the predominantly Muslim south.
Enguerra said escapees and a jailguard were killed, while two policemen, two other jailguards and four detainees were wounded in a shootout that ensued minutes after the jailbreak was detected.
According to Enguerra, army units based in Siocon have backed up policemen and personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Protection (BJMP) in the hunt for the escapees who were believed to have fled to the hinterland border of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga City.
Huey helicopters took off early Saturday morning from the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City to help security forces track down the escapees, some of whom were believed to have seized the firearms of jail guards.
A police intelligence source said investigators were looking at the possibility of "outsiders" who helped the detainees stage the jailbreak in Siocon, some 60 kilometers from Zamboanga City.
The MNLF laid siege to Zamboanga on September 13 last year to protest a peace deal between breakaway group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government. The siege left some 300 people dead and over 100,000 displaced.
Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang has said that the army is beefing up troops in the area as the anniversary of the attack approaches.
Sometime in February 2011, at least three people were also killed, including a jailguard, when seven prisoners bolted Zamboanga del Sur provincial jail.
Also in April 2007, a communist band led by Mindanao Regional Guerrilla Unit-Pulang Bagani Command ransacked the armory of the penal farm and seized over 100 guns in a pre-dawn raid in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato.
The jailbreaks have been blamed on lax security and poor prison conditions.Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Ağustos 2014, 11:43