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Gunmen storm Philippines prison

By Carolyn E. Price     Feb 1, 2007 in World
BREAKING NEWS ... Armed rebels blow hole in the wall and free prisoners.
UPDATE ... Moro Islamic Liberation Front "most likely had a hand" in the escape.
Officials are reporting that rebels they believe to be Muslim have stormed a jail in the southern Philippines, settingat least 46 prisoners free. The jail is located in Kidapawan city, about 960 kilometers (600 miles) south of Manila.
At least 25 armed invaders attacked the jail with guns and grenade launchers. They blasted a hole through the wall of the prison before hey fled with around 46 inmates. The escapees fled toward a forested area at the back of the jail.
Reports say two people were wounded during the attack. The authorities have launched a massive manhunt.
"We were caught with our pants down," Emmanuel Pinot, governor of the Mindanao region, was quoted as saying. "I have ordered police to shoot these very dangerous people if they will resist arrest. They are better dead than a menace to our communities," the governor said.
Officials say that the prisoners who escaped faced extremely serious charges, such as bombing, murder and kidnapping. Several prisoners were guilty of carrying out bombing campaigns for the Islamic separatist group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Military spokesman Colonel Julieto Ando told reporters that he thought the MILF "most likely had a hand" in the jailbreak.
Rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu denied that MILF had anything to do with the incident.
The MILF - which is campaigning for self-rule in the southern region around Mindanao - is currently supposed to be observing a ceasefire with the government.
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