One Killed as 20 Inmates Stage Jailbreak in Pakistan

By Nurat Uthman

Twenty detainees, some accused of terrorism, staged a prison break in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday, officials told AFP, adding that one was “killed in the crossfire” during the escape.

“The inmates had a revolver that they used to hold a sentry hostage,” said Badar Munir, an official with the regional ministry of interior.

“It is unclear whether they seized it (the weapon) from jail officials or if it was brought in from outside,” Munir added.

The incident took place at the Poonch district jail in Rawalakot city, about 110 kilometres (68 miles) south of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

“In total, 20 people escaped from the prison. One was killed in the crossfire, while 19 others remain at large,” the inspector general of Kashmir prisons, Waheed Ali Gillani, told AFP.

A senior local police official, Riaz Mughal, told AFP that police had blocked the entry and exit points of Rawalakot, and a search operation was currently under way to locate the escapees.

Prisons in Pakistan are notorious for overcrowding, poor conditions, corruption and human rights violations. Additionally, slow judicial processes contribute to prolonged stays for prisoners.

Militant groups have organised several mass jailbreaks in Pakistan in the past, including one in the northwestern town of Bannu in 2012 that sprung 400 prisoners.

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