ZAMBOANGA CITY — Three inmates were shot dead and another was wounded on Sunday after escaping from a police jail in Jolo, Sulu province, hours after President Rodrigo Duterte visited the province to award medals to soldiers wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The casualties were among 14 inmates who escaped from the Jolo Municipal Police Station jail early on Sunday, authorities said.
Jolo is a base of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group and some of the inmates are linked to the bandits, according to Senior Supt. Mario Buyuccan, the provincial police chief.
The jailbreak happened less than seven hours after Mr. Duterte visited troops in Jolo and pinned medals on soldiers wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Hours before Mr. Duterte’s visit, suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen kidnapped four workers at a grade school in Patikul.
About 20 bandits barged into the school compound and seized six painters and carpenters, one of whom managed to escape and alerted police.
Army troops later rescued another worker.
Darwisa Ramos, sister of kidnapped worker Edmundo Ramos, said the bandits were demanding P2.5 million for the release of the four captives.
“My brother is very poor. He could hardly send money to his daughter for her school allowance,” she said.
The jailbreak happened at 1:25 a.m. on Sunday, according to a report submitted by Buyuccan to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police office.
“They cut the bars of the jail and jumped from the second floor to the roof of the municipal hall building next door. Our troops responded and the inmates were killed and wounded in hot pursuit operations,” Buyuccan told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
His report to the ARMM police identified the slain inmates as Julbig Alinjani, Budda Basali and Midzfar Sabli.
One inmate was wounded and arrested, the report said.
He was identified as Gummi Maimbung.
Army troops were helping police track down the rest with the use of military drones and sniffer dogs, according to a police statement.
Being hunted were Makrim Habbisi, Alsimar Basali, Nasir Maldam, Albin Alibasa, Julhaber Sariol, Benjie Pandoga, Mustafa Sarapuddin, Haber Kasim, Benjamin Baker and Tano Hadjula. —With reports from AP and AFP
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