11 prisoners gunned down during mass escape in PNG

2:29 pm on 27 February 2016

11 prisoners have been gunned down by guards in a severe response to a mass breakout in Papua New Guinea.

Reception area at Buimo Jail in Lae, PNG.

Reception area at Buimo Jail Photo: Human Rights Watch

17 others were wounded, and police estimate that about 87 managed to escape from Buimo prison in the country's second city, Lae, yesterday afternoon.

The acting Correctional Service Commissioner, Bernard Nepo, says details of the incident are still sketchy, but he says a very large number of prisoners appeared to have charged the entrance.

The newspaper, The National, says two prisoner officers were attacked during the fracas that ensued and required hospital treatment.

Buimo prison has been the scene of several large escapes in recent years; it is severely overcrowded with inmates on remand often kept in same areas as convicted criminals.

It is not yet clear if an investigation has been launched into the prisoners' deaths, or if any of the escaped inmates have been recaptured.