Haiti prison breakout left 25 dead as over 400 escaped, officials say

More than 400 prisoners were on the run in Haiti on Friday after they escaped from jail in a violent breakout that left 25 people dead, including the prison director, officials said.

The escape which happened from a jail near the capital, Port-au-Prince on Friday February 26, led to the death of bystanders who were caught up in the violence.

One of those who fled, a notorious gang leader named as Arnel Joseph, was killed hours after escaping.

Joseph, still wearing prison ankle cuffs, was a passenger on a motorcycle that was flagged down at a checkpoint,

According to police spokesman Gary Desrosiers, Joseph, was still wearing prison ankle cuffs when he boarded a motorcycle .

The motorcycle was flagged down at a checkpoint but failed to stop.

Joseph then pulled a gun on officers who then shot and killed him, Desrosiers said.

Joseph was Haiti’s most-wanted gang leader before his arrest in 2019.

Eye Witnesses reported hearing bursts of gunfire as prisoners ran away from the prison.

Staff at a nearby clothing store told reporters that the prisoners forced them to give out clothing items.

The Croix-des-Bouquets jail was inaugurated in 2012 and was designed for a maximum capacity of 872 inmates

It’s not the first time jail outbreaks is happening in Haiti.

In 2019, all 78 inmates of Aquin prison in southern Haiti escaped while police were distracted by anti-government protests nearby.

In 2017 more than 170 inmates escaped from a prison in Arcahaie, north of Port-au-Prince.

Frantz Exantus, Haiti’s Communications Secretary, reacting to the incident said;

“Twenty-five people died including six prisoners and Divisional Inspector Paul Hector Joseph who was in charge of the prison,” he said.

“Among those killed were some ordinary citizens who were killed by the prisoners during their escape,” he added.


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