The National, Monday, May 9, 2011
By JUNIOR UKAHA
NINE of the 91 inmates who were forced to escape from Bui-Iebi jail in Mendi, Southern Highlands, by armed gunmen last Wednesday have surrendered to authorities.
Correctional Services commissioner Richard Sikani said the surrender took to 10 inmates who had returned to the jail.
He said the surrender was made possible through cooperation from the public, churches and provincial authorities.
Sikani said Paul Rambo, the alleged ring leader of the gang who freed the inmates and ransacked the prison armoury, called CS officers yesterday and confirmed he had all the weapons and ammunition and said he wanted to return them.
“I can confirm that the suspect (Rambo) has indicated his interest in cooperating with us,” Sikani said.
“He said he is sorry for what his men have done and is willing return the weapons.”
Bui-Iebi jail commander Felix Namane, when contacted yesterday, confirmed the surrender of the nine escapees and having talked to Rambo.
Namane said of the nine who surrendered, one was brought in the next day by Kiburu villagers, another three were brought in from Ialibu last Thursday, two were brought in from Kiburulast Friday, including one from Kutubu, and two escapees surrendered yesterday.
Namane said at 11am yesterday he received a phone call from Rambo on his mobile phone.
“He (Rambo) called me directly and said he wanted to surrender the arms but on the condition that some financially sustainable project must be set up in his area and that he was given immunity from the law and future arrest,” Namane said.
Sikani said his men and police were supposed to move into upper Mendi where the suspect and his gang are believed to be staying yesterday but had postponed the trip to today because of church services.
Sikani did not specify whether the trip would be a raid, a fact-finding mission or to negotiate with the gang to return the arms.
He said he was confident his officers and Mendi police “will retrieve all the weapons and ammunition by the end of this week or by early next week”.