23 Mar 2013

Manhunt underway in PNG for 49 escaped prisoners

9:31 am on 23 March 2013

A manhunt is under way in Papua New Guinea after 49 prisoners escaped from jail in Madang, on the country's east.

Convicted rapist and cult leader Stephen Tari, also known as Black Jesus, is among the escapees.

PNG Correctional Service's spokesman Richard Mandui said the break out from Beon Jail happened while guards were changing shifts.

He added they used an unidentified tool to cut through a fence.

Police have warned some of the escapees are very dangerous.

Madang's Acting Provincial Police Commander Inspector Jacob Bando says they are working around the clock with PNG Correctional Services to find the suspects.

Tari was convicted in 2010 on four counts of rape.

Allegations of murder and cannibalism within his Christian-based cargo cult were never substantiated.

He escaped Beon in 2010 with 16 others but was apprehended shortly after.