World Bulletin / News Desk
The Philippines military says it has recaptured 18 of 158 inmates who escaped when a group of armed men dressed in black stormed a jail in North Cotabato province.
The incident -- the third attack on the provincial jail since 2007 -- saw around 10 percent of its occupants flee as the gunmen embarked on a two-hour firefight with prison officers.
In a statement released Thursday, Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said early morning pursuit operations launched by the military and police led to the capture.
"Acting on reports that escapees from the Amas Provincial Jail were monitored in Barangay Bangilan, Kabacan, North Cotabato, joint elements of the 7th Infantry Battalion and the Cotabato Provincial Police Office proceeded to the said area and conducted pursuit, yielding to the arrest of 17 individuals," Tan said.
He added troops had also apprehended another escapee.
"The search continues for the other inmates," Tan said. "Pursuit operations are ongoing."
On Wednesday, a two-hour firefight broke out after gunmen suspected of rebel links raided the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan town, which housed around 1,511 inmates, including rebels facing murder charges for a series of bombings.
Superintendent Peter Bungat, provincial jail warden, later confirmed that six inmates, one guard and one village official were killed in pursuit operations.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has sought the support of the country's one-time largest Muslim rebel group in the ongoing manhunt for the remaining fugitives.
Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno as saying that he talked to Sammy Almanzor, chief of staff of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the combatant group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
"Gen. Almanzor has expressed willingness to run after the escaped inmates and they will coordinate with government troops if the escapees hide or take refuge in their areas of control,” he told local reporters.Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ocak 2017, 14:34