8 Sep 2011

Prison attacked and inmates freed

12:08 pm on 8 September 2011

Armed men have attacked a prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo and freed a former rebel commander and 966 other prisoners.

Katanga province Information Minister Dkianga Kazadi said masked gunmen entered the prison in Katanga's main city unnoticed.

Police have recaptured 152 of the 967 escapers.

A UN spokesman told the BBC that Gedeon Kyungu Mutanga, a former commander of the Mai Mai militia movement, had escaped and was still at large.

Mutanga was sentenced to death in 2009 for his role in the long-running conflict in eastern DR Congo.

The BBC says escapes and mutinies are common in DR Congo's prisons. Nearly 200 prisoners escaped from a prison in the north-west last year.