Dozens of inmates escape from Haitian prison in Croix-des-Bouquets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 8:09pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 8:17pm


A jailbreak at a high-security prison near Haiti's capital has left dozens of inmates on the loose.

The escape on Sunday came after a mutiny in the jail, a spokesman for Haiti's national police said.

"It was a spectacular escape. There was no battle. A hundred inmates fled the prison," said a lawmaker on the scene.

Police spokesman Garry Desrosier said authorities were able to catch 13 escapees.

He said authorities were still searching for others but refused to give an exact number.

Among them was Clifford Brandt, an influential businessman jailed in 2012 on allegations of kidnapping for ransom.

Desrosier said a million gourde (US$40,000) reward was being offered for the recapture of Brandt.

Haitian police said measures had been taken to reinforce border controls and embassies had been warned.

The prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, northeast of Port-au-Prince, held 897 inmates. The jail was built in 2012, at a cost of more than US$5.7 million, financed by Canada.

According to residents of the small town, several hundred people came out of the prison, running in every direction, just moments after intense gunfire broke out in the jail.

"It was a conspiracy carried out inside the prison that caused the escape. There was no attack from outside - contrary to what had been announced," the police spokesman explained.

"What happened is shocking when we know that this prison is very secure and, in theory, well-controlled," said Marie-Yolaine Gilles, head of a human rights group.

Anti-riot police were deployed, and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe visited the scene.