Police officers and soldiers give orders to others as they are deployed outside Tanjung Gusta prison that was partially set ablaze by inmates during a prison riot in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, July 11, 2013. About 150 prisoners have reportedly escaped from the overcrowded prison in western Indonesia following a riot triggered by a power outage. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:11 pm
Inmates riot, escape, set fire to Indonesia prison
By BINSAR BAKKARAAssociated Press
Thousands of policemen and soldiers are deployed around Tanjung Gusta prison to blockade roads linking Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, to other provinces were blockaded while fire brigades were battling the fires.
About 200 prisoners escaped following the riot late 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 still searching for remaining inmates who still at large, said local police chief in Lt. Col. Nico Afinta. 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 late Thursday's 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. None of the hostages was still being held Friday morning.
The facility holds nearly 2,600 prisoners while its normal capacity is 1,500, 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 (yards) into the air and a huge column of black smoke billowing over the jail.
Hadi estimated about 500 inmates were resisting calls to stop the riot and said an evacuation was planned for the safety of inmates who could become hostages as tensions showed no signs of easing.
Vice Minister of justice Denny Indrayana, who is in Medan overseeing the operation, has requested evacuation of all inmates and appealed those remain escape to give themselves to the authorities.
"Legal action will be taken to chase them, and tougher action will be applied to those who refuse to surrender," Indrayana said.
No further information was available on injuries.