150 Inmates Escape in Daring Jailbreak
Islamist rebel campaign has raged for 40 years in Philippines
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2017 7:07 AM CST
Filipino inmates at the North Cotabato District Jail near Kidapawan city in the southern Philippines, after a massive jailbreak.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – More than 150 prisoners escaped in a brazen jailbreak in the southern Philippines after a shoot-out between suspected Islamist rebels and guards, Al Jazeera reports. Six inmates and one guard were killed in the firefight on the island of Mindanao, reports the BBC. More than 100 armed men stormed the North Cotabato District Jail near Kidapawan city around 1am on Wednesday. During the two-hour firefight, some 158 inmates (out of 1,500) managed to flee.

Some prisoners leaped over a wall after stacking their beds against it, per the BBC. Others scaled a ladder, per Al Jazeera. Eight have been recaptured. There was no claim of responsibility but rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were suspected. The MILF is the largest of the Muslim separatist groups fighting for increased autonomy in the majority Catholic southern islands. Jailbreaks, kidnappings, and other violence have marked the four-decade insurgency that has left 120,000 dead, per the BBC. President Rodrigo Duterte, whose summary executions of criminals has drawn international outrage, has pursued peace talks with the rebels.

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