Philippine Police Storm Prison, Killing 22 Inmates
Philippine police stormed the prison that had been taken over by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, killing 22 inmates in the process, including three key leaders of the group. One officer died in the operation.
Philippine police stormed a maximum- security prison in Manila, killing 22 inmates as they took control of the jail from suspected Abu Sayyaf inmates who stole weapons from guards in a failed breakout attempt. Three of the dead were identified as suspected top members in the Abu Sayyaf, which the U.S. said has links to the al-Qaeda terrorist group. One police officer was killed when special police units stormed Camp Bagong Diwa in a Manila suburb about 9:20 a.m. local time, firing bullets and tear gas, Agence France- Presse reported. “The operations went according to our plan,” Avelino Razon, Manila police chief, said today in an interview broadcast by GMA News. “It seems we really control the area.”
The Abu Sayyaf has said it’s responsible for three bombings on Feb. 14 in the Philippines that killed a dozen people. The group said it firebombed a ferry in Manila Bay in 2004, killing more than 100 in the nation’s deadliest attack, and carried out ransom kidnappings in which some hostages were beheaded.
Police today stormed the Manila prison after negotiations to get inmates to surrender failed. Among those killed were suspected Abu Sayyaf member Galib Andang, known as Commander Robot; Alhamser Limbong, known as Commander Kosovo and said to be the leader of the escape attempt; and Nadjmi Sabdulla, known as Commander Global. All were accused of mass kidnappings and terrorist attacks, the Associated Press said.
It’s unclear from the reports I’ve seen why the police felt the need to storm the building after such a short seige. Obviously, one wants to wrest control from the terrorists as soon as possible. Still, time would seem to be on the side of the authorities unless the terrorists are killing guards or otherwise putting pressure on.
So far, it appears no such recriminations are going on in Manilla. According to an AP/IHT report,
Interior Secretary Angelo Reyes said four leaders of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group were among the dead, including two men who headed MondayÃ¢€™s escape attempt at Camp Bagong Diwa in Manila that left an additional five people dead. Ã¢€˜Ã¢€˜The terrorists got what was coming to them,Ã¢€™Ã¢€™ Ignacio Bunye, press secretary for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said in a statement.
After TuesdayÃ¢€™s assault, sweat-soaked police marksmen filed out of the building to the applause of bystanders, escorting detainees stripped to their underwear and with hands clasped behind their heads
This story, too, fails to explain why the assault was necessary, other than that police had given the inmates 15 minutes to surrender and, when they didn’t, they went in with tear gas and a large force.