22 Dec 2008

Vanuatu prison escapees recaptured and housed in ex-British jail

2:56 pm on 22 December 2008

The acting director of Vanuatu's Correctional Services, Joshua Bong, says all inmates who escaped Port Vila's main prison facility last week have been recaptured.

The prisoners broke out of the former French arm of the city's high risk detention centre after burning down the facility in protest against what they claim were inhumane conditions.

About 30 prisoners who escaped sought refuge at the National Council of Chiefs' Nakamal where earlier this year the Malvatamuri chiefs helped return escapees to police custody while also making sure their concerns were heard.

Mr Bong says that this time police came and took the inmates away immediately.

"We've already recaptured everyone now. The last one was captured this morning. We have the inmates in the ex-British cell at the moment. Actually there is enough room, yeah."

Meanwhile, opposition MPs Ralph Regenvanu and Moana Carcasses have been charged with aiding the prisoners and trying to negotiate with police.