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 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
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
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT