*** ----> Dozens escape Comoros prison walking out of main gate | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Dozens escape Comoros prison walking out of main gate

AFP | Moroni            

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Dozens of inmates are on the run after casually escaping from a poorly guarded Comoros prison through the main gate, authorities said on Thursday.

Officials in the Indian Ocean archipelago said 38 prisoners escaped an overcrowded jail in the capital, Moroni, in a jailbreak initiated by a detained soldier.

"I didn't even have time to perform the Eid al-Fitr prayer. The escape took place very early," Soilihi Ali Said, head of the prison service, told AFP, referring to the Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan.

Prosecutors said the prisoners had exploited lax security and no one was injured in the incident.

"Negligence on the part of the security guards was the cause of the escape," public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid told AFP.

"The fugitives took advantage of this negligence and got out through the main gate."

Djounaid said a soldier, arrested over the death of a football fan who was shot by security forces holding off a rush of supporters before a World Cup qualifier last year, was believed to have masterminded the prison break.

"The escape was instigated by the soldier who fired the shots at the Malouzini football stadium in Moroni that led to the death of young Fahad Moindze," he said.

An investigation has been opened, Djounaid added.

The soldier is among the fugitives, none of whom have so far been caught, Ali Said, the prison service chief, said.

Jailbreaks are common in the southern African country of 870,000 people.

With a capacity of 90 places, the Moroni prison was holding more than 200 inmates, according to Ali Said. The facility has been criticised for poor conditions of detention in the past.