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Dozens of inmates escape from Philippine jail

  • Two dead after "lawless elements" broke a wall of the jail
  • Thirty-one inmates flee provincial jail in Isabela City
  • National police and armed forces pursue escapees

(CNN) -- About 30 armed men described as "lawless elements" broke a wall of a Philippine jail early Sunday and freed dozens of inmates in a jail break that left two dead, a police official said.

Thirty-one inmates fled the Basilan provincial jail in Isabela City on the island of Basilan, after the armed men cut the cell padlock, according to Basilan Philippine National Police Director Abubakar Tulawie.

He said a jail guard and a man who was helping in the escape were killed in the jail break, which occurred shortly before 2 a.m. in southern Philippines.

The circumstances of their deaths were not immediately clear.

The national police and armed forces are pursuing the escapees, Tulawie said.