Another Indonesian Prison Break
Indonesian authorities are beefing up a manhunt operation for more than 200 escapees who were at large after a prominent jail break from an overcrowded jail on Sumatra island.
More than 400 inmates escaped from the Sialang Bungkuk prison in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province, following clashes with guards.
To respond to the prison crisis, hundreds of police and soldiers have been deployed since Friday in the hunt for the prisoners.
Following the prison break, the police recaptured a majority of the prisoners, but the remaining 200 are still at large.
The jail break happened Friday when the prisoners were allowed to go out from their cells for prayers. At least 442 broke through a prison door with force and outnumbered the few guards on duty. Some inmates allegedly tried to set fire to the buildings inside the prison.
Following the jailbreak, some of the men surrendered. Some of the escapees were voluntarily returned by their families. But most of the escapees were captured by residents, police and soldiers.
Indonesian authorities blamed overcrowding for the cause of mass prison escape. The inmates were angry about the poor prison situation. In fact, the prison was built to only accommodate 300 inmates. However, the prison population is more than 1,870 men.
Aside from that, prison guards allegedly were demanding illegal payments during family visits. Local authorities are currently investigating this claim.
Prison Breaks Not New in Indonesia
Prison breaks are not something new in Indonesia. Overcrowding is a prevailing issue that continues to grip the penitentiary department of the Asian nation. Poor funding and influx of people arrested from a war on drugs worsens prison conditions as well.
Many dubbed Friday’s escape the biggest jailbreak since July 2013. About 240 prisoners escaped a maximum-security facility in Medan, following a deadly riot. That deadly prison riot killed five people.