SEREMBAN, April 5 (Bernama) — A group of 109 immigration detainees rioted and set a building on fire before escaping from the Lenggeng Immigration Detention Centre last night.
Using aerial surveillance and tracker dogs, the authorities managed to capture 23 of them.
Negeri Sembilan deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Manan Mohd Hassan said besides burning down a building, the group also rammed a nearby gate.
“We’ve set up a special team to determine how the fire was started. They made their escape via the oil palm plantation located behind the facility,” he told reporters at the scene here Tuesday.
He was confident that more escapees would be apprehended as they had only the dark forest cover to evade the authorities and, during the daytime, it would be difficult for them to access public transport due to road blocks, police cars patrolling the area as well as aerial surveillance.
Abdul Manan disclosed that most of the escapees were Myanmar nationals who were joined by a handful of Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Iranians, Vietnamese and Thais.
“Investigations show that they were dissatisfied with what they perceived as cramped living conditions, the food and long detention periods,” he said.
Abdul Manan said it may well be that many of them had lost patience over the long process needed to settle them in third countries under the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
“Some of them have been in detention for three to 12 months,” he said.
The facility had 348 male and 192 women detainees at the time of the incident. None of the women were involved.
Four fire engines were at the scene to control the blaze. There were no reports of injuries.