Skip to main content

Manhunt for hundreds of Indonesian prison escapees

By Kathy Quiano and Ramy Inocencio
July 12, 2013 -- Updated 1000 GMT (1800 HKT)
Armed Indonesian police secure the entrance of a burning prison compound in Medan city on July 11, 2013.
Armed Indonesian police secure the entrance of a burning prison compound in Medan city on July 11, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 200 inmates escaped from Indonesian prison following deadly riot
  • At least five people dead, including two guards and three prisoners
  • Angry prisoners burned part of prison, held guards hostage after water cut off
  • Police searching for potentially hundreds of inmates still on loose

(CNN) -- Indonesian police are searching for potentially hundreds of escaped inmates following a deadly prison riot in Medan, the capital of the province of North Sumatra. At least five people died, including two guards and three prisoners.

More than 200 inmates, some of whom were jailed on terrorism charges, broke free from the maximum-security facility Thursday when the "water supply was cut off because of a power outage," said Ronny Sompie, the National Police Spokesman Brigadier General.

Angry prisoners, unable to bathe or use the bathroom, burned the door to the prison offices, stole guns and took guards hostage.

"The situation is under control and the fire at the prison has been extinguished," said Sompie.

Bali bombing widow: Stop acting stupid
Last suspect in Bali bombings sentenced

At least 55 prisoners have been recaptured. Some 800 police and military officials are now searching the surrounding area for escapees.

"It's unclear how many more escaped prisoners are out there. We're still waiting for the data from prison officials," Sompie said.

The prison, Tanjung Gusta Correctional Institute, houses 2,600 inmates, according to a press statement from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. The facility's maximum capacity is 1,054. Overcrowded prisons are typical in the country.

Indonesia has made major progress in fighting once-rampant terrorism in the country.

Since the first Bali bombings in 2002, authorities have arrested, convicted and jailed hundreds of terrorists. One of the terror networks behind past major attacks in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah, has largely been weakened because of the arrests or deaths of its leaders.

More recently, Indonesian police killed one of the country's most-wanted terrorists, Dulmatin, in March 2010. The suspected mastermind behind the 2002 Bali bombings, in which 202 people died, had a $10 million bounty on his head, according to the U.S. State Department.

In April 2011, authorities in the capital of Jakarta foiled an Easter bomb plot targeting a Catholic church. Police found seven bombs made from about 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of explosives. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

In October 2012, police arrested 11 people plotting a series of attacks that included the U.S. consulate in East Java as a target.

Last month, Indonesian police foiled a plot to bomb the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta, according to local media reports. The planned attack was reportedly in retribution for violence against Muslim Rohingya by majority Buddhists in Myanmar.

Kathy Quiano contributed from Jakarta. Ramy Inocencio wrote this article in Hong Kong.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT