World

23 freed in Philippines jailbreak

Militants who support the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group staged a daring jailbreak in the southern Philippines, freeing 23 detainees in the latest in a series of mass escapes, officials said yesterday.

About 50 heavily armed members of the Maute group raided the local jail in the southern city of Marawi on Mindanao island on Saturday and freed eight comrades who were arrested barely a week ago, police said.

Fifteen other detainees, held for other serious offences, also escaped in the raid, said provincial jail warden Acmad Tabao.

Police earlier said that 28 inmates escaped, but Mr Tabao clarified the figure.

In a report, Mr Tabao said that two women went to the prison gate, asking the guard to take delivery of some food for the detainees.

When the guard opened the gate, hooded men forced their way into the compound.

They overwhelmed the guards, forcing them to their knees and taking two rifles before freeing the inmates.

The hooded men fled in a prison vehicle to a nearby lake.

The Maute gang members then fled by boat while the other inmates scattered, Mr Tabao said.

The eight Maute group members were arrested on August 22 after soldiers manning a checkpoint found improvised bombs and pistols in the van they were driving.

The Maute group is one of several Muslim gangs in Mindanao, the ancestral homeland of the Muslim minority in the largely Catholic Philippines.

- AFP

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