Jayapura. Almost 20 inmates escaped from Manok wari Prison on Sunday in what was described by the warden as a carefully planned jailbreak.
Of the 128 convicts being held at the West Papua penitentiary, 19 managed to flee after wounding a prison guard and pulling down the main gate, leaving the rest of the guards too stunned to respond .
According to the warden, Wiliam Kmuor, the escapees appeared to have studied the weaknesses and holes in the prison’s security system.
The dramatic escape was staged soon after a religious service.
Wiliam said the prisoners attended the Mass in the prison yard as usual and that there was no suspicious behavior to indicate an escape was in the works. “After Sunday Mass, all of the inmates went back inside the prison building,” he said.
“But at about 1:30 p.m., some of the prisoners began approaching the main gate, and they suddenly attacked the guard there and then quickly fled.”
The guard at the main gate was severely beaten, the warden added.
Soon after receiving a report from Wiliam, police arrived at the scene to carry out an investigation.
Both police and prison officials said they have started to track down the escapees.
Among those who escaped were four defendants being held by the Manokwari Prosecutor’s Office while their trials were ongoing. No details were given on the charges they were facing.
The rest of the escapees were serving time for crimes ranging from robbery to murder. At least one of them was due to be released this year, while others were to be locked up until 2019.
This was not the first escape at the prison.
Former police officer Swiling Mandacan, sentenced to four years in jail for rape, escaped in September but was rearrested. He was among those who escaped again on Sunday. He was due to be released in 2013.
William Rumbiak, who was jailed for treason, also escaped in September and is still at large.
Another Papua prison is notorious for jailbreaks, the Abepura Penitentiary in Jayapura. Last year alone, three breakouts there were reported.
In May, 18 prisoners took advantage of an ongoing riot by correctional guards to make good their getaway. Two were recaptured.
A month later, 26 inmates escaped after guards failed to show up for work over a labor dispute. In October, two more prisoners broke out.