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28 Die in Philippines Jail Uprising

A March 14, 2005, botched escape attempt by an Al-Qaida linked Abu-Sayyaf member at the Camp Begang Diwa (CBD) detention center in Tanguig, Manila started as a two-day takeover of CBD that ended with 28 dead.

When the incident began, CBD held 470 detainees, including 129 suspected members and leaders of Abu-Sayyaf group, which is notorious for deadly bombings and ransom kidnappings in which some hostages have been beheaded.
The takeover of CBD began when an Abu-Sayyaf member, who was about to be escorted to a morning court hearing overpowered a guard before he could be handcuffed, took a rifle, and shot the two prison guards around him. Other prisoners then grabbed weapons. Other guards and policeman prevented the prisoner's escape, killing two prisoners in the process.

CBD was then taken control of by 100 prisoners. Police began negotiations, which appeared to reach a settlement the same day. In return for their surrender, police agreed to allow the prisoners to hold a news conference. After the prisoners decided the next day that they wanted to keep their weapons during the news conference, police decided to storm CBD.
Hundreds of police stormed CBD on March 15, firing tear gas grenades and automatic weapons. Within an hour, police had taken over control of the prison, evacuated most prisoners, and began hunting down the armed prisoners. That operation resulted in the deaths of 22 prisoners, one guard, and one police officer. In all, 28 died from the uprising. In keeping with Muslim tradition to bury the dead within 24 hours, all were buried in a mass grave outside CBD. Among the dead were 10 leaders of Abu-Sayyaf.

The Philippines has a history of Abu-Sayyaf members escaping from its prisons, which are often dilapidated, with inadequate and sometimes corrupt staff. We are fast becoming the world's laughingstock because of what is happening in our jails," said Sen. Mary Villas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs.

An investigation into the failed jailbreak is to determine how the Aba-Sayyaf prisoners smuggled five handguns and two grenades into the prison. Those weapons were used to engage the assault team inside the prison compound.

The day after raid, police announced the warden and four of his subordinates were relieved from duty. Their negligence and that of other guards will be examined to determine if action should be taken against them.

The CBD raid had the Philippines on alert for threatened bombing attacks from Abu-Sayyaf or retaliation for storming the prison and killing its members.

Sources:, New York Times, Los Angels Times

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