Muslim militants stage mass jail­break

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MUSLIM ex­trem­ists who sup­port the Is­lamic State 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 Au­gust 27 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.

Mr Tabao said two women came 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 and over­whelmed the guards be­fore free­ing the in­mates.

The hooded men shouted “Al­lahu Ak­bar” (God is great) be­fore flee­ing in a pri­son ve­hi­cle to a nearby lake. The Maute gang mem­bers then fled by boat while the other in­mates scat­tered.

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

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

The group has car­ried out kid­nap­pings and bomb­ings and is be­lieved to have led an at­tack on an army out­post in the Min­danao town of Butig in Fe­bru­ary.

The group’s mem­bers were seen car­ry­ing black flags of the Is­lamic State and ban­danas bear­ing the ji­hadists’ in­signia were found in their base, the mil­i­tary said.

Au­thor­i­ties said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the jail­break and the rea­son why se­cu­rity had not been increased af­ter high-risk sus­pects were brought in. –

Photo: AFP

Philip­pine sol­diers es­cort Maute group mem­ber Has­sim Balawag Maute to a mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle in Marawi City, Min­danao, on Au­gust 23 – a day af­ter he and seven oth­ers were ar­rested at a mil­i­tary check­point.

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