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Scores of prisoners still on the loose after fiery prison break in Indonesia

Five people have been killed and dozens of detainees are on the run after a prison riot in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, police said. The prison itself is back under the control of the authorities.

Inmates broke out of their cells late Thursday and set fire to an administrative room in the Tanjung Gusta prison in Indonesia's provincial capital, Medan, following a power blackout that knocked out the water supply, police said. Three prisoners and two employees died in the fire and about 150 inmates escaped, police spokesman Heru Prakoso said. About 1,000 police and soldiers are searching for the remaining runaways.

"We have managed to put the prison under control and the inmates are back in their cells," Prakoso said. He added that police recaptured more than 50 prisoners, including two of six runaways convicted of terrorism for their involvement in separtist military training in Aceh province.

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Mass escape

Authorities had crowded 2,600 prisoners into a facility designed for 1,054, according to an official from Indonesia's Human Rights Ministry. During Thursday's riot, television footage showed hundreds of soldiers and police surrounding the prison while inmates shouted at them from the partially burned building.

Prakoso said that the Justice Ministry would determine whether to relocate prisoners from the now partially burned-down facility.

mkg/hc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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