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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March, 2005, 11:39 GMT
Manila alert after prison deaths
Angry sympathizers of slain Abu Sayyaf Muslim militants raise their fists during a burial at a public cemetery in Taguig suburban Manila, 16 March 2005.
The dead Abu Sayyaf were buried in a mass grave on Wednesday
The Philippines capital Manila is on alert after a militant group said it would retaliate for the deaths of 22 of its members in a failed jailbreak.

A spokesman for the Abu Sayyaf said soon after police stormed the prison on Tuesday that it would target Manila.

"We are taking these threats seriously," Manila police chief Avelino Razon told Reuters news agency.

Hundreds of residents of a Muslim community in Manila buried the dead in a mass grave on Wednesday.

Relatives raised clenched fists and yelled "Allahu Akbar" or "God is Great" as they carried the bodies, wrapped in white blankets.

The disturbance at Camp Bagong Diwa jail started on Monday when militants snatched weapons from guards, opening fire and killing three in an attempted escape.

DEAD LEADERS
Galib Andang (Commander Robot)
On trial for kidnapping of 21 tourists on Malaysian resort of Sipadan in 2000
Alhamser Limbong (Commander Kosovo)
On trial for mass kidnapping of 2001-2 on Basilan and 2004 Manila ferry bombing which killed 100
Nadzmie Sabtulah (Commander Global)
On trial for Sipadan kidnap

On Tuesday, police stormed the building after a 15 minute ultimatum ran out.

Police said 22 prisoners and one policeman were killed during the operation. Three prominent leaders of Muslim group the Abu Sayyaf, involved in kidnapping and bombings, were among the dead.

An Abu Sayyaf spokesman on Tuesday threatened to take revenge for the deaths, saying "we will bring the war to Manila".

President Gloria Arroyo and members of the Muslim community called for calm.

"We did not want it to end in violence. We gave them [the prisoners] all the time they needed to surrender peacefully," said Mrs Arroyo's spokesman Ignacio Bunye.

The director of the organisation which runs prisons in the Philippines, Arturo Alit, has admitted that the institutions' lack of resources contributed to the attempted escape.

Muslim leaders met senior police officials in Manila to discuss the Abu Sayyaf's latest threat.

"I gave assurances to the authorities that no one would plot revenge for what happened," said Amerul Gulam Ambiong, a leading figure in Manila's Muslim community.

The Abu Sayyaf is one of four Muslim rebel groups operating mostly in the southern Philippines.

It has been labelled a terrorist organisation by both Manila and Washington, and is believed by the US to have links with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

The Philippine government has deployed thousands of troops in the south in an effort to eradicate it.





SEE ALSO:
Bloody end to Manila jail break
15 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Police storm Manila jail
15 Mar 05 |  In Pictures
Profiles of dead Abu Sayyaf leaders
15 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Manila sends more troops to Jolo
11 Feb 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Guide to the Philippines conflict
30 Mar 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
08 Jan 05 |  Country profiles


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