Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:11AM
A file photo of Philippine troops standing guard prior to a patrol in Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao, in the Philippines (by AFP)
A file photo of Philippine troops standing guard prior to a patrol in Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao, in the Philippines (by AFP)

More than a dozen prisoners escaped from a jail in the restive southern Philippines on Sunday, but at least three of them were killed in police pursuits.

Fourteen prisoners escaped from a police station jail in the war-torn town of Jolo. Police forces chased them, killing three and wounding and recapturing a fourth.

The other ten were at large, and police were using drones and sniffer dogs to locate them.

Jolo is a base of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, and some of the inmates who escaped were linked to the outfit, according to provincial the police chief, Senior Superintendent Mario Buyuccan.

The police station jail was holding a total of 32 inmates, who were mostly drug dealers, according to Buyuccan.

He explained that there was no connection between the Sunday jailbreak and the fighting in the town of Marawi, where the army is fighting Daesh militants.

This screen grab, from a video released by the Philippine army on June 18, 2017, shows militant leaders Abdullah Maute (R) and Isnilon Hapilon (2nd-L) at an undisclosed location on Mindanao Island. (Via AFP)

Mass escapes from prisons are commonplace in the Philippines, where prison facilities are often overcrowded, poorly maintained, and inadequately guarded.

This file photo, taken on July 30, 2016, shows inmates sleeping on the steps of a stairway inside the over-crowded Quezon City jail in Manila. (By AFP)

In the country’s biggest jailbreak, more than 150 prisoners fled from a prison in the south in January after about a hundred gunmen stormed the facility.

Abductions

Separately, suspected militant-bandits from the Abu Sayyaf group abducted four workers in a school in a southern Philippine province where President Duterte visited troops waging an offensive against the outfit.

About 20 militants barged into a grade school compound in the town of Patikul in Sulu Province shortly after midnight Saturday and seized six painters and carpenters, one of whom managed to escape and alerted the police.

Army troops later rescued another worker.

During his brief visit to Sulu on Saturday, Duterte awarded medals to wounded troops.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) awards a medal to a wounded soldier at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista hospital in Jolo, Sulu, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, July 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The president has ordered government forces to eliminate the militants, who still hold several foreign and Filipino hostages in Sulu’s jungles.

In Marawi, Philippine soldiers are fighting an urban war against terrorists from the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups, both of which have pledged allegiance to Daesh.