More than 100 prisoners break free from Indonesian jail

Last updated 20:02 17/07/2013

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Indonesian police launched an intense manhunt to recapture more than 100 prisoners after a group of inmates fled detention in Batam island - the second jailbreak in Indonesia in less than a week.

The latest escape occurred early Wednesday when 12 inmates - all awaiting trial on drug charges - beat two guards and a janitor before escaping from a state detention center in Batam, which is located near Singapore, said police chief Brig. Gen. Endjang Sudrajat.  

He said the group first hit the janitor and a warden with iron from a bed, then overpowered another guard before breaking window at warden's office and fled. Police launched a search across the island and have recaptured one inmate, Sudrajat said. The facility has a capacity of 250 but is currently holding 400 detainees.

Last Thursday, 212 prisoners, including nine terrorists, escaped from a prison in Medan on Sumatra after starting a deadly riot in which five people were killed. Some 103 of them have been recaptured or given themselves up to authorities.  

''We are investigating whether the jailbreak in Medan inspired inmates here,'' Sudrajat said.

The riot in Medan was believed to be triggered by a blackout that knocked out power to water pumps, leaving inmates a whole day without water in the facility that held 2,600 prisoners, nearly triple its normal capacity of 1,054.

Police are still tracking down the remaining 109 including four convicted terrorists, searching streets, markets, bus terminals, ports and homes of the escapees' relatives. Among escaped terrorists from Medan is Fadli Sadama, 28, who was serving an 11-year sentence for his involvement in a bank robbery and attack on the police station that killed three officers in 2010 in North Sumatra.

Sadama, believed to be a dangerous terrorist with broad networks with radical groups in Malaysia and Thailand, was caught in Malaysia in 2010 prior to his planned trip to join extremist groups in Pattani, southern Thailand.

''It's not impossible that he is trying to find ways to join his groups in Malaysia or Thailand,'' said Ansyasd Mbai, head of Indonesia's anti-terrorism agency.

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- AP

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