Basilan is an island that is part of the Muslim Autonomous Region. It is beset by divisions between Muslim and other groups on the island and Abu Sayyaf operates in the area. The jail break freed members of the Abu Sayyaf group. Recently one hostage held by the Abu Sayyaf was beheaded. This is from Malaya.(Manila)
Marines tasked to retrieve 31 jail escapees MARINES have launched pursuit operations against the 31 detainees and 30 comrades from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf who supposedly helped them escape from the Basilan provincial jail last Sunday.
"The Philippine Navy has also made interdiction patrols around Basilan to prevent the members of the ASG and MILF to escape from Basilan and to other islands," said AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner.
Brawner said the detainees included MILF leaders Hadji Dan Laksaw and Kamsa Limaya.
The two were involved in the ambush-slay of 14 Marines in Al Barkah town in Basilan in July 2007.
Brawner said the government may file a protest against the MILF, through Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities as there is a standing cease-fire agreement.
Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar rejected calls to place Basilan province under a state of emergency.
Olivar also acknowledged the claim of the MILF that they were not involved in the jailbreak.
"The MILF has denied its involvement, so this is an open question that I guess I would leave to the authorities concerned to thresh out," he said.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad had called for a state of emergency in Basilan following the beheading of an Abu Sayyaf hostage, the abduction of a Basilan State University official and professor and the Basilan provincial jailbreak.
The PNP will recommend the transfer of high-risk detainees in provincial jails to the Metro Manila Rehabilitation Center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan.
A number of Abu Sayyaf members are detained at the MMRC.
PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said the Basilan warden and jail guards on-duty are now being investigated.
They were identified as Jumaril Sali and jailguards Sixto Diaz and Danie Cumbong.
Ron Nasser, a third jail guard, was