The National, Thursday 6th September, 2012
By ZACHERY PER
SEVENTEEN prisoners escaped to freedom yesterday from the Bihute jail outside Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
Jail Commander Simon Larken confirmed that 14 remanded prisoners and three convicted prisoners escaped at midday yesterday.
He said there were only three officers on duty at the time of the escape instead of the required five.
“I am preparing suspension notices for two officers who were absent at the time of the escape,” Larken said.
“They cut through the wire fence and dashed into the Fimito area.
“We immediately deployed police and correctional officers who are combing the area to try to recapture the escapees,” he said.
Larken said among those who escaped was notorious criminal Simon Wena, who served out a full jail term in Bihute and returned to Bihute after a major hold up at Digicel office in Goroka last month.
“I blamed the two officers who were absent.
“They will be disciplined.
“The compound is quite big and we need full manpower to look after the prison.
“Upon the direction of the superiors, we are preparing suspension notices to discipline them,” Larken said.
He also pointed out that there were long delays in disposing of remandees.
The recent election also caused unnecessary delays to hearing their cases and has frustrated some of the remandees awaiting court times.