Philippines: three dead in attempted jailbreak by presumed Moro rebels

Some 50 black-clad gunmen armed with grenades and bombs stormed the city jail at Kidapawan, North Cotabato province, in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao Feb. 20. They were repulsed by police in a chaotic night battle that killed three—two civilian by-standers and an ambulance driver. Of the 15 wounded, most were civilians caught in the crossfire. As the armed men withdrew, they fired rocket propelled grenades at a nearby Karaoke bar. Military and police officials blamed former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), attempting to free leader Datukan Sama, AKA Kumander Lastikman, who is charged with kidnapping. A spokesman for the MILF denied the claim. (AP, Xinhua, Feb. 20)