Over 100 inmates escaped after armed attack at Cotabato jail

Over 100 inmates escaped after armed attack at Cotabato jail

- At least one jail officer was killed and over 100 inmates have escaped following an armed attack at the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) in Kidapawan City

- According to initial reports, the over 100 armed men, believed to have links with Muslim rebels, MILF and BIFF facilitated the attack

- As of press time, BJMP’s STAR team, along with SAF and the AFP, are conducting clearing operations within the jail vicinity

At least one jail officer was killed and over 100 inmates have escaped following an armed attack at the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) in the Capitol Complex, Amas, Kidapawan City on Wednesday, January 4.

According to initial reports, the over 100 armed men, believed to have links with Muslim rebels, attacked at around 1:15 a.m. resulting in a two-hour firefight.

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158 inmates escaped Kidapawan jail Photo credit: Manila Bulletin

Of the 1,511 inmates, 158 inmates have fled but four were recaptured, said prison warden Superintendent Peter Bongat.

"It's well planned. Escapees used blanket as their getaway. We have a manhunt operation," said Bongat.

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In a statement released by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), Senior Insp. Xavier Solda, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology spokesperson said that "around 100 inmates took the opportunity to escape through the back portion of the facility while the rest of the personnel were retaliating to hold their ground and to protect other inmates."

The armed attack had also resulted in the death of one jail guard, identified as Jail Officer 1 Excell Vicedo, who was wounded on his right chest.

Bongat also said in an interview that the the attack was headed by a Commander Derby, leader of an alleged breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

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As reported by Bombo Radyo, 'chief expediter' Felix Capalla, one of the leaders of the inmates at NCDJ, have tipped Bongat of the plan to rescue Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) members prior to the attack.

"I gave him (Bongat) an information that some of the inmates have told us to prepare for rescue and escape. This was last December 31. I saw additional troops deployed in the area from December 31 up to January 1. But after that, I saw few people manning the jail, then came the attack," Capalla said.

BJMP’s Special Tactics and Response (STAR) team, along with Special Action Force (SAF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), are conducting clearing operations within the jail vicinity and the surrounding areas as the accounting of detainees continues.

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