Skip to main content

Manhunt for hundreds of Indonesian prison escapees

By Kathy Quiano and Ramy Inocencio
updated 6:00 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
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
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT