ZAMBOANGA CITY: Police launched a manhunt for 10 prisoners who escaped from jail before dawn on Sunday in Jolo, capital of the southern Philippine province of Sulu.
Police said three other prisoners were shot dead by jail guards who managed to stop some three dozen inmates from escaping.
One prisoner was also wounded in the shooting.
Officials did not say how the prisoners escape from the jail or whether the warden has been removed from his post over the incident.
There was no immediate statement from the local mayor.
The escape happened a day after President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Jolo and visited soldiers wounded in clashes with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists.
On the same day, the ASG seized four people despite ongoing military offensive in Sulu’s hinterlands.
Duterte, during his visit, pinned medals on 13 soldiers at a military hospital in Jolo.
The soldiers were wounded in a clash with militants under Almujer Yada in Patikul town on July 7.
It was unknown whether the military reported the kidnappings to Duterte or if he was aware of the latest atrocity of the Abu Sayyaf.
The four – Felimon Cordero, Edmund Ramos, Joel Adanza and Jason Baylosis – were also abducted in Patikul, a known stronghold of the extremist group.
The victims were all construction workers and residents of Zamboanga City.
Another worker, Larry Velasquez, managed to escape from the Abu Sayyaf and reported the matter to the police.
The military’s Western Mindanao Command did not release any report on the abductions but said government troops also killed a notorious Abu Sayyaf bomb expert, Ibno Moro, in the village of Kamagong in Bongao town in the neighboring province of Tawi-Tawi.
Moro, a follower of militant leader Radulan Sahiron in Sulu, was involved in the 1989 massacre of civilians in Bongao’s Lapid-Lapid village and the 2004 kidnapping of Sibuto town Mayor Kuyoh Pajiji, including the 2002 kidnapping of Alvin Chua, also in Bongao.
He was also linked to the 2004 murder of Rodrigo Alejandro Sr. and his son, Rodrigo Jr. in Buan village in the town of Panglima Sugala in Tawi-Tawi.