Philippines:110 inmates on run after biggest jailbreak

Around 110 inmates remain on the run in vast farmlands and isolated villages of the nation's strife-torn south.

Philippines:110 inmates on run after biggest jailbreak

A day after the biggest jail break in Philippines, authorities have reportedly captured 34 inmates while 110 inmates still remain free.

Reports quoted Philippine jail authorities as saying that 34 of the inmates had been recaptured by Thursday morning, adding to five who were killed on Wednesday but they emphasised there were many obstacles in the manhunt.

Around 110 inmates remain on the run in vast farmlands and isolated villages of the nation's strife-torn south.

"This is a very wide area. Aside from sugar, rubber and coconut plantations, there are areas and camps held by rebels that we cannot easily enter," jail warden Peter Bongngat told AFP.

Suspected Muslim guerrillas stormed a decrepit jail in one of the major southern cities on Wednesday, freeing 158 inmates and killing a guard, in what authorities said was a bid to free fellow rebels.

It is to be noted that southern Philippines houses decades-old Muslim separatist insurgency, as well as extremist gangs that have recently declared allegiance to the Islamic State.

The badly overcrowded jail in Kidapawan, 950 kilometres (590 miles) south of Manila, contained rebels from the various groups as well as members of criminal gangs that thrive in the corruption and poverty of the south.

The jail, which housed about 1,500 inmates, is a run-down former school building that militants have targeted repeatedly over the past 15 years.

In 2007, Khair Mundos, a Filipino who would later become one of the world's most wanted accused terrorists escaped along with 48 other inmates. Mundos, with a $500,000 bounty from the US government, was recaptured in Manila seven years later.

However Wednesday's jailbreak was the biggest in the nation's history, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology spokesman Xavier Solda told AFP.

Solda said 13 "high-value targets" -- seven Muslim rebels and six organized crime gang members -- had not been able to escape on Wednesday. But the authorities haven't been able to identify much escaped inmates as the identities are being verfied.

On Wednesday, Bongngat said the attackers were believed to be militants who had broken away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's largest Muslim rebel organisation which is in peace talks with the government.The MILF, which has about 10,000 armed followers, has been fighting since the 1970s for independence or autonomy.

The rebellion has claimed more than 120,000 lives although the MILF has in recent years observed a ceasefire as part of the peace process. However, MILF leader has denied such allegations.

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