Philippine police killed three detained militants linked to the Islamic State group after they staged a prison riot on Sunday in which a police officer was stabbed and a former opposition senator briefly held hostage in a failed escape attempt. from the maximum-security facility at police headquarters in the capital, police said.
The head of the national police, General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., said that the former senator Leila de Lima was unharmed. and was taken to a hospital for a checkup after the brazen escape attempt and hostage taking at the detention center for high-profile inmates in the main police camp in Metro Manila.
One of the three inmates stabbed a police officer who was delivering breakfast after dawn in an open area, where inmates can exercise outdoors. A police officer in a sentry tower fired warning shots, then shot and killed two of the prisoners, including Abu Sayyaf commander Idang Susukan, when they refused to budge, the police said.
The third inmate ran to De Lima’s cell and briefly held her hostage, but was also shot dead by police commandos.Azure said.
“She is safe. We were able to quickly resolve the incident inside the custody center,” Azurin told reporters, justifying the police action to shoot the inmates. “Senator De Lima was already being taken hostage, so should we let such a critical situation drag on?”
Susukan, who had been blamed for dozens of murders and beheadings of hostages, including foreign tourists, and other terrorist attacks, was arrested two years ago in the southern city of Davao.
The other two inmates, Arnel Cabintoy and Feliciano Sulayao Jr., were suspected members of Dawlah Islamiyah, a militant Muslim group that has been linked to bombings and other deadly attacks in the south of the country. They were arrested in 2019 in the suburbs of Quezon City, in the capital region, and were facing charges without bail as Susukan, police officials said.
Many militants belonging to Abu Sayyaf, which the United States and the Philippines have blacklisted as a terrorist organization, and Dawlah Islamiyah have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.
The officer of policeman what was it stabbed with a makeshift knife I was in Serious condition in a hospital, Azurin said. Another inmate was injured in the rampage, police said.
Interior Secretary Benhur Ábalos said the three murdered inmates organized the rampage in an attempt to escape and did not specifically target De Lima.
After the two militants were shot dead, the third inmate ran to De Lima’s cell and took her hostage, blindfolding her and pointing a blunt object at her chest. The inmate demanded a helicopter for his escape during a brief negotiation, then asked for water.giving a police officer the opportunity to shoot him as he was handing him water, Abalos said.
De Lima told opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, who visited her, that she feared being killed during the incident. “Why would he die now when he could be released soon?” Hontiveros quoted De Lima as telling him. “And something inside her told her to be still.”
De Lima has been detained since 2017 and has been facing trial on drug charges. which she says were fabricated by former President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials in an attempt to muzzle his criticism of his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs. These have left thousands of mostly small suspects dead and have prompted an investigation by the International Criminal Court as a possible crime against humanity.
She has been acquitted in one of the three cases, and at least two witnesses have withdrawn their testimonies against her.say his advisers.
Duterte, who has insisted De Lima is guilty, resigned June 30 at the end of his turbulent six-year term and was succeeded by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of a former dictator who was ousted in an uprising. pro-democracy in 1986.
Ábalos visited Lima and conveyed an offer from the president for her to be transferred to another place of detention, but she rejected the offer, Ábalos said, adding that steps would be taken to prevent such incidents from happening again.
In 2005, detained Muslim militants from Abu Sayyaf led a siege of a maximum-security jail in another Metro-Manila police camp where special forces relied on another failed escape attempt. Police launched a major assault with tear gas canisters and assault rifles after the militants refused to surrender, killing 22 inmates, including top Abu Sayyaf commanders.
In a court-authorized interview with The Associated Press at the jail complex in March, de Lima seemed unfazed by her years-long detention at the old facility, which is surrounded by a maze of high concrete walls and topped by razor wire. rusty spikes and sentinel towers. Jail guards armed with assault rifles constantly roamed and kept watch.
“I am a fighter,” the former head of the human rights commission and secretary of justice told an AP reporter at the time. “It’s hard, but I can handle it.”
“I can never lose hope,” said de Lima, 63.
De Lima’s detention for years has prompted calls for his immediate release from the European Union Parliament, some US lawmakers and human rights experts from the UN and international watchdogs.
(with information from AP)
The dictator who stole USD 10,000 million, bought 3,000 pairs of shoes for his wife and son who returned to power
HRW called on the UN to take action in the face of the “serious situation” of human rights in the Philippines