3 killed in DRC prison break

2010-07-02 11:17
Kinshasa - Thirty-one prisoners staged a daring jail breakout Thursday in the Democratic Republic of Congo and three were killed and one seriously wounded in ensuing police action, an official said.

"Thirty-one prisoners escaped, 15 have been recaptured, the others are still on the run," said an official in charge of media relations in the eastern province of Bas-Congo.

"Three prisoners were shot and killed by police and another is seriously injured," he said.

Between 250 to 300 people are incarcerated at the prison in Matadi, a port city.

The breakout occurred on Thursday at 04:00 (03:00GMT) when inmates burned down a building in the prison, a source close to the provincial governor said.

"Some prisoners had become brainwashed into thinking they were going to be released before the 50th anniversary celebrations," said the source.

DRC celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence from Belgian rule on Wednesday.

The source rejected a rumour that the escapees were members of separatist religious sect Bundu dia Kongo, saying they were common criminals.

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