In a statement, the PNP said one of the inmates, drug convict Jason Angkanan, was arrested by barangay authorities at 2 a.m. Wednesday before being turned over to the Philippine Army.
Angkanan told authorities that when he went to sleep Tuesday night, he noticed that their cells were not yet padlocked. At about 1 a.m., he was awakened by several gun shots.
"And then he heard some of the inmates shouting that they should go out from the Custodial Facility Building because the attackers will burn it,' the PNP said. "He further disclosed that when he was already out of the building, he saw that some of the inmates were climbing the wooden ladder, which [was] utilized as their escape route."
BIFF, MILF deny involvement
But the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the MILF denied their involvement in the siege.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misri Mama said Wednesday that he does not know Kumander Derby who is not in their roster. Mama insisted his group would confirm their involvement in any attack.
Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force-MILF spokesman Von Al-haq also said they do not know Derby, allegedly a former member of the group. He said MILF forces, especially in possible exit routes of the escapees, are already alerted to help the government arrest the inmates.
North Cotabato Acting Provincial Governor Sherlyn Macasarte said the attackers belong to the the BIFF. She added that prior to the siege, authorities were informed there would be an attack to rescue two members of the armed group who specialize in making improvised explosive devices.
Solda said they are still confirming the real motive of the attack.
Prepared in advance
Bongngat said authorities were warned in December 2016 that a group would attack the prison on New Year's day.
"We were given intelligence reports last Dec. 30, that's why we had a conference with the Provincial Director of the PNP (Philippine National Police) North Cotabato and together with the Battalion Commander of the Philippine Army," he said.
"We were prepared because we were then expecting that they will attack us on the evening of New Year," Bongngat added. "So all security personnel from the PNP, the BJMP and the Philippine Army were readily prepared for that eventuality."
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SOURCE: Youtube, CNN