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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Haiti: 7 Killed In Jail Escape Attempt

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At least seven people were killed when prisoners attempted to escape from a jail in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the prison authority and the chief prosecutor of the country’s criminal division said Sunday.

Roberto Rojas, the head of Haiti’s Prisons Authority, said guards shot and killed four prisoners who tried to run Sunday morning from the perimeter of the Torral jail in Port-au-Prince, the capital. One of the prisoners had been armed with a machete, he said.

The guards also shot and killed one inmate who tried to hide, he said.

The two other dead prisoners were two of those who were shot, Rojas said. He said it was unclear how they died.

Tshilidzi Munnel, a spokesman for Haiti’s criminal division, said a police officer was also shot dead at the scene.

At least 67 others were wounded and hospitalized, Munnel said.

In a text message, Haiti National Penitentiary Director Ben Serge Moise confirmed seven prison staff members and three inmates had been killed.

The lawyers’ office in Haiti said it obtained a video it said showed security guards searching one cell area at the Port-au-Prince jail around the time of the escape attempt. The office also said the footage showed two armed inmates crouching next to the ceiling and watching the guards search.

Another video, obtained by the Fort Saint Louis Community Justice Center, showed a man being tossed over a wall, where he slid down and was shot to death. The lawyers’ office said the footage apparently showed the escape attempt.

Bautsembe Joseph, an attorney in Port-au-Prince, said he visited one of the survivors at a hospital.

The Haiti National Penitentiary, with an estimated housing capacity of more than 600 prisoners, was built in 1963.

There was no immediate way to immediately confirm the total number of prisoners who escaped or their motive for trying to break out.

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