By PETER WARI
SOUTHERN Highlands police chief Jimmy Onopia wants a full investigation into the jailbreak-out at the Bui-iebi jail in the province.
Nineteen prisoners dashed for freedom on Christmas Day while warders were involved in sporting activities.
Three were recaptured with the help of police while 16 were still at large.
Mr Onopia said it had come to his attention that two armed Correctional officers came face to face with two escapees while pursuing them, but did nothing to recapture them.
Mr Onopia said he could not understand why this happened.
He said something was wrong and urged Correctional Services commissioner Richard Sikani to suspend the jail commander and carry out a full investigation into the breakout.
He said he feared more prisoners would walk out of the jail if nothing was done.
He said the escapees also ran away with an assault rifle, which they took from a lone elderly officer who was on guard.
Mr Onopia said the rifle was still in the hands of the escapees.
He said all the prisoner officers were playing with other prisoners when the incident happened and caught them by surprised.
He said a woman with a mobile phone who saw the prisoners jumped over the razor wire fence alerted police who quickly arrived at the scene and re-captured three of them.
Mr Onopia blamed the jail commander and his senior officers for their negligence by not providing tight security prior to the game.
He said of the escapees, three were convicted prisoners while 16 were remandees who were arrested for committing various crimes like rape, murder, and armed robbery.
Highlands divisional police commander Simon Kauba said police and CS officers have launched a joint operation to re-capture the 16 escapees still at large.