13 officials hurt in deportee escape riot

JEDDAH – A riot at the Passports Department’s deportation detention center in Jeddah Wednesday morning led to some inmates escaping the facility and injuries to 13 department officials.
Extra security services were called to the site at the Old Airport when inmates, all of whom were being held ahead of deportation for overstaying the time limits of Haj and Umrah visas, accosted guards and ripped up an iron fence, enabling some of them to escape.
Officers, with the aid of reinforcements from Makkah Police and Special Emergency Services, brought the situation under control and returned the inmates to detention blocks, while most of the escapees were located and returned to the center within half an hour of their flight.
Police, as of Wednesday evening, were still searching for an unstated number of others.
According to a medical official, nine officers were treated at the scene for minor injuries and four were taken to King Abdul Aziz Hospital. They were discharged later in the day. At least three detainees were also attended to for minor injuries.
The spokesman for the regional Makkah Passports Administration confirmed the incident, and assured the public that none of the detainees was being held on security or criminal charges.
“They are all persons who overstayed their visas from previous years’ Haj and Umrah pilgrimages,” he said.
A senior Passports Department official said that work had already begun on assessing the extent of the damage and on identifying the number of detainees unaccounted for.

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