DR Congo: Inmates Escape as Gunmen Attack Matadi Prison

Inmates have escaped en masse from a crowded old prison in the western Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Sunday, with at least one guard, reported killed.

Prison’s Deputy Director Apolonia Londo disclosed that two armed men arrived at the entrance to Matadi prison, subdued the guards and opened the main gate, allowing a large number of prisoners to flee

Commissioner Jean-Pierre Nzolani said meanwhile that police officers around the prison witnessed inmates escaping from a breach in the walls.

Nzolani said, “They (police) shot in the air, but more than 300 people came toward them, grabbed their weapons from them and killed a policeman,” Another officer was shot and seriously injured, he added.

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“Was it an inside job, a plot prepared for a long time?” the commissioner added. “We are trying to figure it out.”

Longo said that the prison had held 737 prisoners on Saturday morning but a headcount was underway to determine how many escaped.

The central prison in Matadi, the main city in Kongo province, was built in 1939 and is supposed to house 150 inmates.

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