(UDHAYAM, MANILA) – More than 150 inmates have escaped from a south Philippines prison after gunmen launched an attack.
The authorities suspect the gunmen are linked to Islamist separatist groups.
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, which is predominantly Catholic, 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.
History of jailbreaks
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.
The south of Philippines has a history of violent jailbreaks in general.