Police shoot dead 11 escaped inmates in Papua New Guinea

At least 11 prisoners die and 17 wounded by police gunfire after mass prison breakout in Papua New Guinea

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A general view of Buimo prison in Papua New Guinea.

Police in Papua New Guinea shot dead 11 prisoners and wounded 17 others after a jailbreak in the Pacific island nation's second largest city on Friday.

On February 25 before escaping more than 30 prisoners attacked two guards at the Buimo Correctional Institution in Lae, nearly 320 km (200 miles) north of the capital of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby, with the jail chief quickly alerting police who gave chase on foot.

"It is confirmed that 11 prisoners have been shot and killed and 17 wounded and recaptured," Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Anthony Wagambie saidm adding that it was not clear how many prisoners were unaccounted for.

The escapees were high-risk prisoners serving time for offences including murder and rape, a media outlet from Papua New Guinea said.

Seventy three prisoners cut through two fences to escape from the same facility in 2009, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

It was the second recent breakout from the jail with more than 50 prisoners escaping in 2015. Several were reportedly shot.

According to Freedom House (a non-governmental organisation that conducting research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights), prison breaks are in common in Papua New Guinea and the correctional service is understaffed.  

Papua New Guinea, formerly administered by its near-neighbour Australia, struggles with endemic violence and poverty. The Australian government warns of "high levels of serious crime" on its travel advice website and refers to a "general atmosphere of lawlessness."

TRTWorld and agencies