Entire Jolo police force axed after jailbreak
ILIGAN CITY — The entire police force of Jolo, capital town of Sulu province, was axed following a jailbreak involving 29 inmates, mostly facing drug charges, on Saturday morning.
Police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) sacked the entire Jolo police force for “laxity.”
Senior Insp. Jemar delos Santos, spokesperson of the ARMM police, said most of those who escaped faced drug cases.
At least 12 of the inmates were still at large, following the 10 a.m. jailbreak at the Jolo police detention facility, Delos Santos said.
He said 17 had been captured on Sunday. A police and military team was now hunting the other escapees, said Delos Santos.
Police and military in the entire province were put on high alert and all possible exits were being watched, according to Delos Santos.
The 12 inmates who are still on the run have been identified as Herbert Bael, Radzmir Salahudin, Nur Hassan Taasan, Alim Misa, Abdulwahid Lipae, Junal Sali, Alvin Hamdi, Al-amil Kipili, Algamer Bantala, Mutmamir Pangambayan, Khan Balang and Dante Abdula.
Delos Santos said police believed the 12 would flee to Basilan.
According to Delos Santos, all policemen and officers assigned to the Jolo police station would be “placed under the custody of the provincial mobile force company pending investigation.”
Initial investigation showed members of the Jolo police force failed to notice the inmates already picking the lock of their cell.
The lone guard on duty was not around during the jailbreak.
Chief Supt. Graciano Mejares, ARMM police chief, said escapees could still be in Sulu and were hiding in remote villages.
Mejares said police in islets around Sulu and Basilan had been alerted and ordered to be on the watch for the escaped inmates.
The jailbreak on Saturday was not the first to hit the Jolo police detention facility in Barangay Walled City in the capital town.
In July last year, three detainees were killed, while another was wounded in a jailbreak. At least 10 of the detainees who escaped in July have not been recaptured. Some of them were suspected to be members of the terror group Abu Sayyaf. —Richel Umel
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