Of the 102 that escaped during Monday’s break out, 100 of them were remandees, who were in custody of the Correctional Service, and have been waiting for more than two to three years for their National Court hearings.
Only two were convicted prisoners. There was a National Court Call out on Monday this week, which the remandees thought many of them would attend, but to their dismay, only one remandee was taken to Mt Hagen National Court.
Baisu Jail Commander, Timbi Kaugla said investigation has started on the cause of the mass breakout, but prisoners have been complaining too much of the delaying of court cases and decisions.
Of the 102 that escaped, 8 of them were shot dead by the joint disciplinary forces.
“Some of the remands, most of them are National Court remandees. They were waiting for their court appearances. Some decisions have been made, but they have been waiting for their decisions to be laid down by the Court,” said Kaugla.
Eight other were severely injured with bullet and bush knife wounds and were hospitalized.
However, five of the eight escaped at the hospital with the aid of their armed relatives.
Twenty-eight of them were recaptured, leaving 71 still at large.
“The escape took place as a result of frustration. There were no convicted prisoners who took part in that escape, but only two that went with them,” says Kaugla.
It was during the lunch break on Monday noon, when the escapees saw less manpower manning the prison gate, so they walked out of the gate without hesitation, singing, “Moses is breaking the Red seas”, and they ran up the nearby mountain and escaped.
“The escapees were charged for murder cases, rape, stealing, those are offenses that are not wanted by the society at large,” Kaugl said.
Warders tried to stop them, but they were short of manpower and they feared their lives also.
Warning shots were fired, but that did not stop them from running.
“Police and Correction Service are doing operations, but if there be need, we will call defense to assist us. But so far there is no information coming from the public. The community at large are not assisting the police and the CS to give information so that we might be able to recapture them,” said Kaugla.
By Vasinatta Yama, EMTV News, Mt Hagen