5 Jan 2011

Vanuatu corrections officers suspended over prison breakout

7:37 pm on 5 January 2011

Three correction staff members in Vanuatu have been suspended over last week's escape of eight high-risk prisoners from Port Vila's jail.

Four of the eight inmates have now been recaptured.

But Correctional Services director Johnny Marango says police are investigating the breakout.

Mr Marango says two of the suspended staff members were on duty at the time of the escape, while the third did not turn up for duty.

He says there is an assumption the staff members had made a deal with the escapees or had some connection with them, as standard operating procedures were not followed

"The instruction was that they had to only open two containers at a time but they did open all the containers, there were eight containers all together, and only two of them at a time, so they deliberately disobeyed the orders so I had no choice but to suspend them."

Johnny Marango says the Public Service Commission will decide on the fate of the staff members depending on the outcome of the police investigation.