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Southern Philippine island appeals for emergency rule

Last Updated: Monday, December 14, 2009 - 14:34

Zamboanga: The government of a southern Philippine island appealed on Monday for a state of emergency to be declared after dozens of Islamic militants escaped from jail and others beheaded a hostage.
As well as imposing emergency rule, Basilan Vice Governor Al Rasheed Sakalahul called on President Gloria Arroyo to send extra troops to his island.

He urged Arroyo to declare "a state of emergency, if only to finish this once and for all, to apprehend and prosecute all of these Abu Sayyaf".

"We need more troops in the province," Sakalahul also said.

The Abu Sayyaf is a local group of Islamic militants allegedly set up in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden`s al Qaeda network.

The US lists the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organisation and since 2001 has stationed a small number of troops to the southern Philippines to train the military in fighting the militants.

Abu Sayyaf members were among 31 people who escaped from Basilan`s main jail yesterday. Authorities said over 100 militants stormed the jail, breaking down part of the jail`s wall, to secure the release of those inside. One prison guard and one of the militant raiders died during a gunbattle.


First Published: Monday, December 14, 2009 - 14:34

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