Scores Escape in Philippine Prison Break, One Dead

Manila, More than 150 inmates have escaped from a south Philippines prison after gunmen launched an attack.

Dozens of armed men stormed the jail and engaged in a shootout with guards, as prisoners fled in the chaos. One guard was killed and an inmate injured.

The Philippines has battled separatists in the south for decades, amid kidnappings, violence and jailbreaks.

The latest prison break took place at the North Cotabato District Jail near Kidapawan city, on the island of Mindanao. Prison authorities said the gunmen opened fire on the facility which held more than 1,500 men.

The shootout lasted for about two hours, and in the confusion some prisoners fled to the back of the prison and climbed over the walls by stacking their beds.

Philippine military and police have launched a hunt for the escaped inmates. At least six have been recaptured.

It was the third and biggest prison escape in the past decade at North Cotabato District Jail according to the Philippine Star newspaper.

More than 40 inmates fled in 2007 when three bomb-makers were rescued by guerrillas, and four years later another group of bomb-makers also escaped.

Source: Qatar News Agency