Gbarnga on Lockdown After 21 Prisoners Escape

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GBARNGA, Bong – About 21 inmates have escaped after a jailbreak Wednesday afternoon at the Gbarnga Central Prison.

Six convicts and 14 pretrial detainees escaped the prison.

Bong County Attorney E. Wilkins Nah told The Bush Chicken minutes following the incident that the escapees were allowed out of their cells for a sunbath within the premises of the prison when they broke loose and overpowered the prison guards.

Nah described the incident as “serious” and called on residents of Gbarnga and their neighbors to help the police capture the escapees.

Bong County Attorney, E. Wilkins Nah. Photo: Moses Bailey

Bong County Attorney, E. Wilkins Nah. Photo: Moses Bailey

“We ask the citizens of Bong County, especially Gbarnga and its environs, to work with us to get these guys back because it is for the safety of everybody. A Bulk of these guys are convicts and they are dangerous criminals,” Nah said.

“Some are armed robbers. If you see today the [number of] armed robbery [has] gone down… it is because we have a very good number of them here. And now that they are out, I think it is dangerous.”

He said one of the escapees was arrested by security and taken back to the prison.

Prison guards told our reporter that the inmates used stones and other instruments to intimidate security and broke the steel door and the lock to escape.

A human rights monitor of the Independent National Human Rights Commission who requested anonymity said they were slapped several times and their phone and cash were taken away by one of the escapees.

The monitor had gone to check the records of pretrial detainees as part of their normal functions as a human rights monitor when the situation occurred.

The monitor retrieved the phone upon the recapture of the criminal by security.

One official of the prison said, currently, there are 170 inmates at the Gbarnga Central Prison, a number that surpasses the 130-person capacity of the facility.

Nah announced that no one is allowed in the streets of Gbarnga beyond 10:00 p.m. as of Wednesday night until the inmates are arrested.

“For motorcyclists, by 9:00 p.m., we don’t want to see you in the streets, and all other persons must leave the streets by 10:00 pm,” Nah told Super Bongese Radio Wednesday evening.

He said all is being done by the Joint Security of Bong County to ensure that the escapees are re-arrested.

Featured photo by Moses Bailey

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia awarded him with the Human Rights Reporter award. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Aside from his work in the media, Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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