Three people were killed when suspected Muslim rebels attacked a prison in a failed attempt to spring a jailed leader, in the southern Philippine city of Kidapawan, police and military said.
Authorities said the attack late Sunday also injured more than a dozen civilians who were caught in the fighting. The rebels fired a grenade at the prison gate and the attack sparked a firefight.
A military report said the attacked were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front who are followers of Datukan Samad, alias Lastik man, but a rebel spokesman Von al-Haq strong denied this.
“Lastik Man is a notorious criminal involved in cattle rustling, carnapping, and robberies and is also known drug trafficker. He is not a member of the MILF,” he said.
The attackers fled after the foiled rescue of their leader who was arrested in North Cotabato’s Pikit town.
In 2009, gunmen also attacked the prison, but failed to free their arrested companions, but the raid left three people dead.
Three notorious gang leaders - Noel Pedtamanan, Datukan Samad and Jabide Balomol -are both using the alias “Lastik Man.”