Manama: A policeman was killed and another injured when a group of heavily armed men stormed a rehabilitation centre in the Southeastern village of Jau in the wee hours yesterday, allowing several inmates to escape, the Interior Ministry said.
In a statement on its Twitter account, the ministry confirmed the ‘jail break attempt’ and said security forces have launched a manhunt for the attackers and the escaped prisoners.
In the aftermath of the incident described as ‘terrorist’ attack by the Interior Ministry, police set up several security checkpoints around the Kingdom early morning yesterday. According to reports, more than 12 security checkpoints have been established.
The Interior Ministry later confirmed the involvement of a terror cell in the attack and the escape of 10 inmates.
Authorities also placed the prison, one of the Kingdom’s biggest correctional facilities for men, on security lockdown.
A Twitter statement requested public to cooperate with the security forces engaged in the search and combing operations. The Interior ministry has opened hotline numbers 80008008 and 999 for the public to share any information regarding the attackers or the escaped convicts. All calls will be treated anonymous.
The policeman, identified by the Interior ministry as prison guard Abdulsalam Saif, was killed when the attackers opened fire at the centre early Sunday.
Confirming his death the Interior tweeted that Saif lost his life while he was trying to repel the armed assailants and prevent some convicts’ escape. A second policeman was ‘moderately’ injured in the attack, according to the Ministry’s statement .
“An armed attack on the Jau reform and rehabilitation centre resulted in the death of policeman Abdul Salam Saif and the escape of a number of inmates convicted of terrorist crimes,” the statement by the Ministry said.
“Several convicted terrorists escaped Jau prison; security and legal proceedings have been taken.” The Ministry in a statement later revealed that 10 inmates escaped.
Investigators have launched a massive manhunt to capture the prisoners, with checkpoints established near and around the prison.
The Ministry also issued a warning against aiding or abetting escaped prisoners.
Jau prison has witnessed similar events in the past with the latest being a riot sparked by unruly prisoners.
The facility, according to Global Detention project, a nonprofit research centre in Geneva that investigates immigration detention, houses inmates charged or convicted of criminal offences, as well as undocumented migrants.
Following the riot reported in 2015, around 57 people were given 15 years imprisonment in January 2016 by the Fourth Criminal Court.
According court files, the riot occurred when the prisoners refused to obey instructions given by the prison guards.
Equipment worth thousands of dinar were destroyed including air conditioners and surveillance camera in the ensuing violence, which also resulted in injuring several servicemen and prisoners.
The defendants were also sentenced to pay a total of BD508,187 for the damages caused.
Last year, in June, 11 prisoners broke out of the Dry Dock Detention Centre in Muharraq Governorate, but were recaptured by the police in less than 24 hours.
Police checkpoints around Bahrain.