Prisoners die in mass breakout

According to an Aim news report, the breakout occurred at the Maputo Central Prison at around 14:00 hours on May 7, 2006. A statement from the Ministry of Justice on Monday said the 13 that were recaptured included wounded escapees. The statement stated that two were killed and eight others had been wounded in a clash with the police. Eyewitnesses told reporters from the private television station STV that they saw at least 16 prisoners either shot or clubbed to death by the police. They said they saw the police kill some prisoners after recapturing them. The eyewitness said as the prisoners managed to clamber over the wall, they were confronted by armed police on the other side. When the cameras reached the prison there was just one body remaining on the ground. The reporters were told that he had been beaten to death with the butts of police rifles. STV also reported that the escape had been made possible by the drugging of prison guards. Lunch for the guards is prepared by some of the prisoners, and they are suspected of having laced the food to put the guards to sleep. The affected guards were taken to hospital. They were later discharged, but, according to the TV report, doctors advised against them returning for work for a day or two. The immediate result of the breakout was a ban on prisoners receiving visitors. Relatives queuing up to bring food to the prisoners were told they could not enter the jail. Several of the women in the queue were distraught since they did not know whether their relatives were among those involved in the breakout, and whether they were alive or dead.

May 2006
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