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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

AFP, PNP pursue manhunt operations vs Basilan jail escapees

By Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY – Government troops are conducting manhunt operations against eight prisoners, including an Abu Sayyaf bandit, who managed to escape by climbing through the ceiling and jumping over the concrete fence of the Basilan Provincial Jail last week.

Capt. Maria Rowena A Muyuela, information chief of the Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City, said the Joint Task Group (JTG) Basilan and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are currently conducting manhunt operations against the eight prisoners who broke loose from a provincial jail in Barangay Geras, Sumandang, Isabela City, Basilan.

Col. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, JTG-Basilan commander, said the military and police continue to “intensify patrol along the periphery as part of security measure to preempt the rescue of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) prisoners by their comrades.”

The police identified the fugitives as Said Usman (ASG member with 4 counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention); Akmad Arasani (frustrated murder and violation of Sec. 11 of RA 9165); Obet dela Cruz (robbery case); Serham Akalun alias Bagio (3 counts of murder); Benhar Ibrahim (violation of PD 533 cc 6384-cattle rustling); Oliver Tinguha (murder); Mumar Jajuli (violation of Sec 5 of RA 9165 or illegal drugs); and Arajan Dala (murder).

Lieutenant General Rustico O. Guerrero, Commander, Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM), said: “Our primary concern is to ensure security control over the province while our troops continue to assist the local police in the conduct of manhunt operations.

Meanwhile, Basilan Governor Jum Akbar immediately summoned high-ranking officials of the PNP and military here in connection with the jailbreak. The governor directed security forces to tighten security in the entire province.

The eight prisoners were discovered missing at 8 a.m. last Jan. 27 when Provincial Warden Abdulhusin A. Atalad did the counting of inmates.