Dozens of prisoners walk out of Comoros jail

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Relatives of prisoners wait outside the entrance to the main prison in Moroni, Comoros - 2019Image source, AFP

Dozens of prisoners have escaped in the Comoros by simply walking out of the main gate of the jail in the capital, Moroni, the authorities say.

The public prosecutor blamed negligent security guards for the early morning jailbreak.

However, a government spokesman told the Reuters news agency the escape of the 38 men appeared to be pre-planned.

Moroni Prison, the largest on the Indian Ocean island nation, is dilapidated and overcrowded.

More than 200 inmates are incarcerated there – more than double its capacity.

The fugitives are still at large and an investigation has been launched.

Public Prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid said he believed that a soldier jailed last year over the death of a football fan during a World Cup qualifying match had initiated the breakout.

“The escape was instigated by the soldier who fired the shots at the Malouzini football stadium in Moroni,” the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

The privately owned Comoros Infos website reported “insider collusion” as having facilitated the escape.

Jailbreaks from Moroni Prison are not uncommon.

In 2020, 23 inmates escaped in unclear circumstances and more than 40 inmates absconded as the people were celebrating the national football team’s victory over Kenya.

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