Two killed as Islamic militants storm Philippine jail

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Isabela City, Basilan island
Image: TheCoffee.

At least 31 inmates are believed to have escaped and a further two, including a prison guard, killed after a group of up to one hundred Islamic militants stormed a prison in Isabela City on Basilan island in the southern Philippines. The escapees are believed to be affiliated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, of whom two are thought to be responsible for the decapitation of a group of soldiers in 2007.

The attack occurred shortly before 02:00 local time and Al Rasheed Sakalahul, Vice Governor is quoted as saying that "more than half the inmates […] had escaped". Following the attack, a brief firefight ensued in which a guard and a rebel were killed. Sakalahul went on to say "there is a pursuit operation to get back the escapees. We still don't know how the gunmen were able to spring out the prisoners. There is an ongoing investigation." Of those killed, one was a prison guard and the other was a rebel, both killed in the firefight which followed the break in.

The incident is the third of its type on the island of Basilan in the last five years.