Muslim rebels storm Philippines jail, 158 inmates escape

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More than 100 suspected Muslim rebels stormed a jail in the southern Philippines before dawn Wednesday, allowing 158 inmates to escape in what officials said was the biggest jailbreak in the country.

(FOX)- Six of the inmates were killed in firefights with pursuing police and army troops, while eight others have been caught and were being returned to the facility, said Senior Inspector Xavier Solda, spokesman for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

Solda said the heavily armed gunmen emerged from a forest and attacked the North Cotabato District Jail in Kidapawan under the cover of darkness. Kidapawan city in Cotabato Province is about 580 miles southeast of the capital Manila.

Acting Provincial Jail Warden Supt. Peter John Bongngat Jr. said one of the about 20 prison guards on duty was killed and an inmate was wounded in an initial gunbattle.

Bongngat and Kidapawan police chief Supt. Leo Ajero said gunfire continued for hours after the attack as army troops and police, some in armored tanks, hunted through the surrounding forests for the escaped inmates and the gunmen who freed them.

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