By JAMES APA GUMUNO
NINETEEN prisoners, described as hard core criminals, broke out of Bui-iebi jail in Southern Highlands province on Christmas Day.
The breakout occurred around midday while the majority of the prisoner officers were involved in sporting activities.
The prisoners over-powered a lone guard and escaped on foot.
Assistant Police Commissioner and Highlands divisional police commander Simon Kauba said yesterday that half of the escapees were remandees awaiting court appearances for serious crimes like murder, rape, armed robbery and stealing.
ACP Kauba blamed correctional officers for their negligence which led to the breakout and called for an immediate investigation into the breakout.
He said no proper security arrangements were put in place before the prisoner officers take part in sporting events, allowing the remandees to take advantage of the weak security by over-powering the lone guard.
ACP Kauba said that Mendi police responded quickly and assisted Correctional officers go after the escapees and recaptured three.
He said it cost the police a lot of money, resources, time and effort to go after escapees.
ACP Kauba expressed his disappointment that police had to go out again and look for these escapees.
He said 16 escapees were still at large and appealed to the people to report to police if they sighted any of the escapees hiding in their area.
ACP Kauba said these men were dangerous to the community and wanted them back behind bars quickly.
He said that Mendi police and Correctional officers would launch a joint operation starting this week to recapture the escapees.