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BREAKING NEWS: Armed men free 158 detainees from North Cotabato jail

BREAKING NEWS: Armed men free 158 detainees from North Cotabato jail
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The warden of the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) in Kidapawan City said the prison facility was undermanned with only 21 guards securing more than 1,500 inmates at the time of the attack early Wednesday.

NCDJ officer-in-charge Superintendent Peter John Bongat said seven of the jail guards were manning their tower posts and the others were assigned as a "standby force" on the ground when the prison facility in Barangay Amas was attacked by at least 100 armed men at past 1 a.m.

A total of 158 inmates were able to escape during the clash. Three of them have been recaptured, Bongat said.

Bongat added that the jail guards were only armed with a few M-16 rifles, shotguns and mostly pistols.

"Outnumbered po. Kung pag-uusapan ang firepower capability ay hindi makakaya ang mga high-powered nila (armed attackers)," the jail warden said in an interview with News To Go.

He said that the armed men, led by a certain Commander Derby of a suspected breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, started the attack by targeting the tower posts.

The armed group then fired shots from almost everywhere, he said.

"We are hearing [gunshots from] all over. Hindi kami maka-maneuver to protect the main gate. Meron na rin pala sa likod," he said.

Bongat also complained that the prison facility was badly situated, saying that it was an easy target for attackers as it was situated in a hilly portion of the barangay.

"Situated in a hilly [area]. Back portion, side, puro creek. Tapos kakahuyan ang kabila," he said, adding that during the attack they were only seeing sparks of bullets from the attackers high-powered firearms.

"Hindi mo makikita ang kalaban. Ang makikita mo mga bala," he said.

Bongat also said that the NCDJ was not a regular prison facility because it was formerly a school with "dilapidated" buildings converted into detention cells.

"Hindi ito typical na jail building. Dilapidated school building built in the early 70's po. School building siya na converted into a jail," he said.

Source: GMA News

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