Four Dead as Philippine Police Storm Prison to Quell Riot


Philippine police firing assault rifles stormed a provincial prison Wednesday to pacify rioting inmates, killing four, the authorities said.

Police were called in to quell a "disturbance" involving about 100 inmates of the jail in Lucena city, said regional police spokesman Chief Superintendent Serafin Barreto.

He said police shot at and killed four inmates.

The prison, about three hours' drive south of Manila, holds 845 inmates on trial for various crimes, he said.

"We're sure that the bullets came from the policemen," Barreto added.

The authorities were forced to fire back at the prisoners, some of whom had "improvised" firearms, Barreto said without explaining how the inmates had acquired the weapons.

National police spokesman Reuben Sindac told reporters in Manila that 15 other inmates were taken to hospital and treated for injuries after the police operation.

"Instead of heeding (police warnings) they (prisoners) threw stones and shot at the elements of the Special Tactics and Response and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology," Sindac said.

The authorities "had no other recourse but to retaliate", Sindac added.

Barreto said the disturbance was triggered by prison officials' plan to transfer the leader of a prison gang into another cell block.

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