The National, Thursday 17th November 2011
By Francis Poka
QUICK action by Baisu prison wardens resulted in the recapture of three medium-risk prisoners who escaped on Tuesday night.
The prisoners fled from the jail outside Mt Hagen, in Western Highlands, by climbing through the ceiling of their cells.
Two of the prisoners had seven months left to serve and the third had eight months to go on convictions of theft and drug smuggling.
As the prisoners fled at about 9pm, guards quickly turned on the escape siren to alert off duty guards.
Baisu jail commanding officer Simon Sobaim commended his officers for a job well done and said with the Christmas period not far away, they had to be extra careful.
Chief Supt Sobaim blamed PNG Power for the constant power blackouts, saying they gave the inmates the opportunity to escape.
Sobaim said after ripping the plywood off the ceiling, the prisoners waited until the lights went out before making their short-lived dash for freedom.
He said other prisoners in the cell alerted the guards who quickly surrounded the compound. Off-duty guards also came to support the shift crew recapture the inmates.
Sobaim said the escapees had been locked in detention cells awaiting further investigation.
“For the past two weeks we have constant power blackouts and we are using the stand-by generator to light up the prison compound while staff are living without lights,” he said.
He had issued warnings on escape attempts and “my officers are on alert for any mass escape”.
He urged disgruntled officers to put their differences aside and support the service commissioner.
Sobaim warned relatives and friends of prisoners and those on remand not to encourage escape attempts when they visited on weekends.
He said the prisoners would enjoy Christmas without trouble in jail and urged churches, business and communities to support rehabilitation programmes.