Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Inmates on the run after jail riot

Police officers and firefighters stand outside the front of Tanjung Gusta prison amid rioting which led to the escape of hundreds of inmates (AP)

Officials in Indonesia are hunting scores of inmates, including terrorists, who escaped a crowded jail after prisoners started fires and began rioting.

Thousands of police and soldiers are deployed around Tanjung Gusta prison to blockade roads linking Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, to other provinces while firefighters continued to tackle the blaze.

About 200 prisoners escaped following the riot late on Thursday in which three prison employees and two inmates were killed.

Officers deployed to hunt the escaped inmates have re-arrested 55 of them and are still searching for the rest, local police chief Lt Col Nico Afinta said.

Three of 22 convicted terrorists have been recaptured.

He said the prison employees who died, including a woman, were trapped and killed in an office building that was burned by prisoners during the riot.

The riot appeared to have been triggered by a power blackout that knocked out water pumps, leaving inmates without water since Thursday morning.

Inmates forced their way out from the prison while others set offices on fire and held about 15 officers captive inside the prison, prison directorate spokesman Akbar Hadi said. All hostages were later released.

The facility holds nearly 2,600 prisoners while its normal capacity is 1,500, Mr Hadi said.

Witnesses said gunshots were heard from inside the prison, and television footage showed security forces carrying a white body bag into an ambulance from the burning prison. The fire sent raging orange flames jumping several meters into the air and a huge column of black smoke billowing over the jail.

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