9 Nov 2010

PNG Corrections Ministry silent about Mt Hagen jail shooting deaths

2:55 pm on 9 November 2010

The Ministry of Corrections in Papua New Guinea is still refusing to provide more information about a breakout in which at least five inmates were shot dead as prison officers tried to prevent them escaping on Friday.

The Ministry's first secretary now says he cannot comment until a report on the shootings at Baisu jail outside Mt Hagen goes to the Prime Minister's office.

A reporter from the Post Courier, Johnny Poiya who visited prisoners recovering in hospital, says they told him four inmates had died in a suspected dysentery outbreak before the breakout

"So the prisoners, those are the guys that were in the prison camp they were scared of their own lives, they were seeing prisoners dying, some of their friends were dying right from that outbreak of dysentery so they decided to flee from the prison camp."

Johnny Poiya says the prisoners' complaints about the dysentery were ignored.

He says a sixth prisoner died in hospital, and another body was found near the prison, while police and corrections are still hunting for about 25 prisoners who remain on the run.