24 Jan 2005

Two PNG prison officers suspended, more could follow after jail break out

5:11 pm on 24 January 2005

Prison authorities in Papua New Guinea have admitted that negligence by prison officers led to a mass jailbreak by 65 inmates near Port Moresby.

Prison authorities say the bodies of two escapees were found after they drowned while trying to cross a flooded river during last Tuesday's escape from the Bomana Prison, which is just outside Port Moresby.

Only eight other prisoners had been recaptured by midday today in a major police and Corrective Services operation launched following the breakout.

A spokesman says an investigation into the escape began today and two officers who had not been at their posts had been suspended.

The Correctional Service Commissioner Richard Sikani has admitted that negligence by prison officers led to the escape in which bolt cutters were used to cut through a fence.

Many of the escapees are hardcore criminals while another 30 were on remand.

Two were serving life terms for murder and rape, one was serving 43 years for murder, one 23 years for rape and four were serving 22 years for rape and murder.