New leads on escaped prisoners in Bougainville

4:45 pm on 20 April 2015

Police in Bougainville say they have leads in their hunt for 19 prisoners who broke out of the Buka police cells early on Sunday morning during a power blackout.

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Photo: RNZ

The police commander in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region, Paul Kamuai, says the escapees are on remand on various charges including murder, rape and armed robbery.

Mr Kamuai says the surrounding community has been warned about the escape and possible sightings of the escaped prisoners have been called in.

"We are getting some information as to where they are. They may have spread out already but as of this morning we have been informed that they are in a group. There is about 13 of them some kilometres from where we are at the police station. So police will be checking out on them, together with the locals there."

Mr Kamuai says jails in Bougainville are overcrowded and under resourced and escapes occur at least twice a year.