Over 20 Abu Sayyaf guerillas escape from jail

  • AseanPlus News
  • Sunday, 11 Apr 2004

ISABELA (Philippines): Eight escapees were killed after at least 53 prisoners including about 20 suspected Abu Sayyaf guerillas broke out of jail in the southern Philippines yesterday, officials said. 

Nine of those who escaped were later recaptured while eight others were killed by pursuing forces said city police Senior Inspector William Gadayan, adding that four of those slain were Abu Sayyaf members. 

Police and military forces have been deployed to track down the remaining prisoners and have set up checkpoints on the island of Basilan to keep them from fleeing. 

But officials expressed concern that many would get away if they are not found before sundown. 

“If it becomes dark, it will be really tough,” said local army commander Col Raymundo Ferrer, adding that if they reached the coastal areas and seized a boat, it would be difficult to locate them. 

Provincial officials said someone smuggled a pistol into the jail which a prisoner used to seize guns from the guards to launch the breakout from the jail in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan. 

Soldiers with assault rifles and numerous military vehicles were deployed in key areas of the island which has long been a hideout of the Abu Sayyaf. 

Basilan governor Wahab Akbar said that among those who escaped were Abu Sayyaf leaders, Abu Black, Abu Burhan and Abdulaziz Naya, who have been involved in numerous abductions. – AFP  

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