Massive jailbreak in Nepal terai, 54 inmates flee coop

August 13th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 13 (IANS) In the biggest jailbreak of its kind since the Maoist guerrillas signed a peace pact two years ago, nearly five dozen prisoners, armed with daggers and other weapons, staged a jailbreak in southern Nepal Wednesday, giving rise to fears that some could have fled to India across the border. Nepal’s official media said 54 male prisoners overpowered the lone guard at Siraha Jail around 7 p.m. and escaped. The prison held 150 men.

When an alarm was raised and policemen chased the fleeing mob, one prisoner was killed in police firing.

The dead inmate was identified as Sonelal Yadav from Sarlahi district, also in Nepal’s terai plains.

The state-run Nepal Television said that though a hunt had been launched for the fugitives, no one had been spotted so far.

The men, wanted for crimes ranging from robbery to murder, are armed with khukuris - local daggers - and other weapons they made inside the prison.

It appeared to have been a planned escape.

Government employees had been on strike in Siraha since the past 10 days, demanding security from the over two dozen armed gangs who have been spreading terror in the plains with extortion, abduction and murder.

The agitating staff and local administration and police chiefs had gathered for talks.

Taking advantage of the lacuna, the prisoners overpowered the night guard and escaped.

Since most of the fugitives are people of Indian origin who could have relatives or friends across the border, it is feared that they would try to cross the porous border and lie low in Indian border towns.

This is the biggest jailbreak since the Maoist insurgency when the guerrillas staged several daring multi-pronged attacks on towns to liberate their arrested comrades.

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