Security agencies blamed for Bannu jailbreak

Published Apr 16, 2012 09:52am

Prisoners sit in a prison cell in Bannu on April 15, 2012, following an attack by armed militants. —AFP Photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has forwarded its preliminary investigation report for yesterday’s jailbreak incident to the federal interior ministry, DawnNews reported.

The report terms the incident a failure on the part of the security agencies and the police.

Moreover, dozens of prisoners who had fled the jail in Bannu have returned but hundreds remained at large, said an official on Monday.

“Fifty-three prisoners out of the total 384, who had escaped the jail, have returned voluntarily while 11 others were arrested,” senior Bannu police official Iftikhar Khan told AFP.

A woman prisoner was one of those who surrendered.

According to the report forwarded to the interior ministry, the escaped convicts included 21 prisoners on death row. Moreover, five female prisoners also managed to escape during the incident.

(According to an AFP report, 34 condemned prisoners had escaped the prison.)

Furthermore, the report claims that the police reached the crime scene after a delay of about two hours.

Of the total 384 escaped convicts, 269 were prisoners were serving their sentences, while 89 were still under investigation.

Around 100 to 150 militants had stormed the Bannu central prison Saturday midnight and freed 384 prisoners, among them a man sentenced to death for trying to assassinate former president Pervez Musharraf.

The militants had arrived on pick-ups at about 1.30am and attacked the prison housing over 900 inmates after blowing up the main gates with rocket-propelled grenades.

The incident was described as the biggest jail-break in the country’s history.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said was launched to get their special members freed.

A large number of militants had recently been moved to the jail from neighbouring Kohat and Lakki Marwat prisons, which are being converted into centres to rehabilitate former insurgents.

A former member of the airforce sentenced to death for an attack on former president Pervez Musharraf was among the escaped militants, according to officials.

Adnan Rasheed was convicted after a bomb planted under a bridge in Rawalpindi near Islamabad in December 2003 exploded moments after the passing of Musharraf’s motorcade. His appeal is pending before the Supreme Court.

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