The National, Thursday 18th April 2013
By PISAI GUMAR
THREE inmates escaped from Barawagi jail in Chimbu last Sunday at about the same time as the mass breakout of 44 prisoners at Buimo near Lae, Morobe.
Correctional Services commissioner Martin Balthazar revealed this yesterday during his visit to the Buimo jail.
Balthazar said the Barawagi breakout occurred while he was on his way to Chimbu to attend the launching of a rural lock-up facility.
He said two of the escapees were recaptured immediately but were severely wounded while the third was shot dead.
Balthazar said the Buimo and Barawagi jail breaks added to the earlier mass breakout at Beon prison in Madang where 49 inmates dashed for freedom on March 21.
He added that a total 96 inmates had escaped from the three prisons with 67 still at large, 27 recaptured and two shot dead.
The commissioner reiterated that the 67 Beon and Buimo escapees, still at large, posed a serious threat to the public, especially women and young girls.
“Among 44 on the run in Madang are 12 rapists and 15 armed robbers, as well as murderers,” Balthazar said.
“Officers who corroborated with these escapees will undo their uniforms and walk into Beon jail after the final investigation report is done.
“The public in Madang, Morobe, Ramu, Kainantu, Goroka and East Sepik are advised to be on lookout as most are high risk prisoners and remandees.
“It requires business houses and community to assist CS and police to work together and apprehend suspicious faces sighted in nearby localities.
“Escapees are a great risk and threat to existing law and order issues in the society, therefore everyone needs to contribute by all means to unite and ensure they are recaptured and put behind bars,” Balthazar said.
While applauding Lae police and CS officers for their swift response in recapturing the 20 escapees immediately, Balthazar admitted that Buimo jail was the largest in the region but struggled with run-down security facilities coupled and lack of manpower.
Balthazar was accompanied to Buimo jail by Lae police metropolitan commander Supt Iven Lakatani, Lae police chief operations commander Insp Fred Kaiwa and CS deputy commissioner corporate affairs David Melengi.