Moroni – Authorities were still hunting on Thursday for a group of 17 prisoners that broke out of jail in the Comoros islands, after prison authorities said they had recaptured some escaped inmates.
Twenty-three prisoners fled on Wednesday evening but six were quickly found, according to the head of the prison administration in Moroni, the capital of the Indian Ocean island chain.
The inmates took advantage of a transfer from the yard to their dormitories to make their getaway, prison authorities said, without giving further details.
Full circumstances of their escape are still not clear, but public prosecutor Ali Mohamed Djounaid said the prisoners made off “without any outside intervention”.
Moroni prison was built in the 1960s to house 80 people, but now holds more than four times as many, according to the prison administration.
The run-down facility sees frequent protests calling for better conditions of detention.
Prisoners had complained of a lack of water and “irregular food rations”, the relative of one inmate told AFP.
The 17 on the run have been identified and an investigation has been launched, Djounaid said.
Two years ago, more than 40 inmates escaped while the country was celebrating the national football team’s victory against Kenya.
Among them was Inssa Mohamed, known as Bobocha, who was accused of participating in an attempted attack on Comorian President Azali Assoumani.
He was found in Madagascar and extradited to Moroni less than two months after his dramatic escape.
The Comoros islands – Anjouan, Grande Comore and Moheli – have endured years of grinding poverty and political turmoil, including about 20 coups or attempted coups since independence from France in 1975.