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Gun recovered from slain village official linked to jail attack.

A rifle that police said belonged to a village official killed during the manhunt for prisoners who bolted the North Cotabato District Jail (NCDJ) early this month had been linked by investigators to the weapons used by the group that attacked the prison compound.

Senior Supt. Emmanuel Peralta, North Cotabato police provincial director, said the M-14 rifle recovered near the body of Satar Manalundong, councilor of Barangay Patadon, matched with the empty cartridges and bullets recovered in the aftermath of the Jan. 4 jailbreak.

But Peralta said it was not yet clear if Manalundong was involved in the attack as investigators were still gathering more evidence.

Manalundong's wife, Haydeelyn, earlier denied her husband, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, had kept firearms. She said her husband was helping police track down the prisoners by giving information about their possible escape routes.

Peralta said the firearm recovered after Manalundong was killed also matched the shells recovered at NCDJ after the separate raids by armed men on Jan. 3 and July 19 in 2013.

Police are eyeing at least three areas in Central Mindanao, where Esmael Nasser, alias 'Derbi,' the leader of the armed men who attacked the jail, could be hiding.

This week, police captured one more prisoner on the run, bringing to 61 the number of escapees rearrested or killed in the course of the manhunt that followed the Jan. 4 jailbreak.

Kentol Guiamad Esmael, 31, was rearrested in Barangay Libungan-Toreta in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato, barely two weeks after armed men stormed the jail, said Senior Insp. Ricardo Carbonell, town police chief, on Tuesday.

Peralta said the manhunt for the remaining 97 fugitives continues.

Police have filed murder and direct assault charges against Nasser and 19 others for the attack that preceded the jailbreak.

Of the 158 inmates who escaped, 10 were killed in pursuit operations while 51 were rearrested.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 21, 2017
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