Security staff in Papua New Guinea’s Buimo prison in Lae shot down 17 inmates during a jailbreak, local media reported on Monday. The incident sparked demands for an investigation into the South Pacific nation’s overcrowded jails, particularly as Australia uses the country’s Manus Island to hold asylum seekers.
PNG’s North Coast Police said 50 prisoners were still on the run and warned the public to be cautious about probable carjackings and armed robberies. “These are dangerous individuals,” the Lae Metropolitan Police Command said. “Police anticipate an increase in serious crimes in the city.”
Three prisoners were captured during the third massive breakout at Buimo.
“Unfortunately, these incidents – tragic as they are – happen all too frequently in Papua New Guinea as there is poor accountability with police and security officers,” Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher Kate Schuetze told Reuters. The development has given rise to repeated calls for an improvement in the cramped facilities and poor medical infrastructure.
Australia and former United States President Barack Obama’s administration had arrived at an agreement as per which some of its refugees would be held on US territory. However, the present US government under President Donald Trump has decided against the deal, which it describes as “dumb”.
Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court had declared Australia’s facility illegal, prompting the South Pacific country to agree to shutting it down by 2017-end.