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Thu Jul 24 04:34:54 SAST 2014

33 prisoners escape from DR Congo jail

Sapa | 29 November, 2010 19:500 Comments

Image by: ROBERTO SCHMIDT

Thirty-three prisoners escaped at the weekend from a jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while four others were shot dead by warders, the prison management said.

The detainees broke tables in the dining hall and "used them as ladders to escape on the night of Saturday to Sunday. There were 33 who got away and four who were killed," Ilunga Dilamuna, the director of the prison at Buluwo, told AFP.

"They were armed with knives and with machetes that they stole from the kitchen and clashed" with the guards, Ilunga added. He said that four of the escaped prisoners had already been caught "in surrounding villages."

"The majority of those who escaped are highway robbers. This jailbreak is not linked to bad prison conditions, though we have just one holding area, in which those sentenced for 30 years are next to those serving a few months. Ours is the only prison in the country where prisoners eat every day," Ilunga said.

Bulowo is 120 kilometres (75 miles) northwest of Lubumbashi, the main town in the Katanga mining province. The prison in Buluwo, built in 1956 for about 100 inmates, currently holds 234 detainees.

In the DR Congo, penal facilities dating from Belgian colonial times are very rundown and overcrowded. Prisoners live in bad hygienic conditions and are exposed to many diseases, dehydration and malnutrition, even sometimes famine.

Jailbreaks are frequent, largely because of the poor conditions.

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33 prisoners escape from DR Congo jail

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