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Bandit suspect, 10 others in Philippine prison break

COTABATO CITY, Philippines -- Philippine police said an alleged bandit leader and 10 other inmates escaped from a prison in the south of the country Tuesday by cutting through iron bars with a hacksaw.

The group bolted from the prison in Cotabato City after using the smuggled saw to get through the iron grills of a toilet room window, local police chief Danny Reyes told reporters.

“Pursuit operations involving the Marines are ongoing,” said Reyes, adding that the manhunt involved dozens of police and military units.

The group's leader was identified as Datukan Samad, described by police as a “high profile” bandit charged with a spate of murders, highway robberies, kidnappings, and cattle rustling operations in the south.

Reyes said it was not clear how the inmates obtained the crude hacksaw, but jail officials admitted corruption was a major problem in many detention facilities especially in provincial areas.

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