Explosion and gunfire at Philippine jail kills several inmates | News | DW | 12.08.2016
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Explosion and gunfire at Philippine jail kills several inmates

Violence at a jail in the Philippines has left 10 inmates dead and the warden severely injured. Police are investigating the incident as a possible jailbreak and attempted hostage-taking.

A gunfight at a jail warden's office and a suspected grenade explosion killed at least 10 inmates at city jail in the Philippines, police said on Friday. The warden also sustained serious injuries.

The violence broke out at the Paranaque City jail in a suburb of Manila after inmates requested a meeting with the warden to allegedly discuss a planned cell transfer.

"One possible angle is that these inmates were planning an attempt to escape," Senior Inspector Xavier Solda, a spokesman for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, told reporters. He added that the inmates might also have attempted to take the warden hostage.

"But this is just one of the angles being looked into, and the investigation is ongoing," Solda said.

Filipino funeral parlor workers carry the body of an inmate at a jail in Paranaque city, south of Manila, Philippines

Investigators said the many of the inmates killed faced drug charges

Solda described those killed as high-profile inmates. Eight of the deceased inmates were being detained on drug-related charges, including two Chinese nationals. Two others were facing robbery and homicide charges, the senior inspector said.

The incident reportedly began in a waiting area outside the warden's office.

"The warden said he heard a gunshot, which prompted him to grab his pistol," said Jose Carumba, the city's senior police superintendent said.

"The inmates kept firing at him, so he kept firing back as he tried to make his way out of his office. It was then that the grenade exploded," he said.

It was not immediately clear whether the inmates died because of the gunfire or the suspected grenade blast.

Following the violence, all visits to the jail were suspended, but investigators assured relatives of other inmates that the blast took place away from the detention cells.

The gunfire and blast come as Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte wages a war against drugs that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of alleged dealers and thousands of arrests - leading to overcrowding in jails.

rs/ksb (AP, AFP, dpa)

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