Additional North Sumatra Prison Escapees Recaptured
Most of the escapees who broke out of North Sumatra’s Labuhan Ruku Prison were returned by Tuesday, police said on Tuesday.
“As of Tuesday, 31 inmates had been recaptured or turned themselves in voluntarily,” the National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie said Tuesday.
According to Ronny, 164 Labuhan Ruku inmates have been transferred to prisons in Tebing Tinggi, Tanjung Balai, Lubuk Pakam, Kabanjahe and Balige following the riots and escapes.
“The transfer is still ongoing today,” he said.
Labuhan Ruku penitentiary was designed to house 300 inmates, but 867 inmates were incarcerated there at the time of the riots.
The Justice Ministry said incident began at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, when a group of inmates attacked a security post, stormed into the prison offices and set them on fire. More than 30 prisoners escaped amidst the chaos. Police believe that five prisoners who were transferred to the facility on Friday may have sparked the riots.
Sunday’s breakout follow two others in July. Indonesian prisons routinely suffer from overcrowding and poor management.
In the first, some 150 prisoners, including terror convicts, escaped from a jail in Medan, Sumatra. Days later, 11 prisoners, all drug offenders, escaped from a jail on Batam island, part of the Riau chain south of Singapore.
Interpol issued an alert saying it suspected Al Qaeda involvement in the July breakouts and other escapes that occurred around the same in prisons abroad. Indonesian officials have played down the possibility of links between the jailbreaks and the terror network.