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Comoros. Nearly 40 inmates escaped through the main gate of the prison

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38 prisoners escaped early Thursday morning from an overcrowded prison in the capital of the Union of the Comoros, Moroni, said prison authorities of the African island nation in the Indian Ocean.

– I didn't even have time to say the Aid-al-Fitr prayer (the holiday ending the Muslim month of Ramadan – ed.). They escaped very early, said Soilihi prison director Ali Said, quoted by Comores Infos.

The escape, according to local media reports, was initiated by a soldier imprisoned for shooting a young fan last November, during police clashes with a crowd trying to get to the stadium where a World Cup qualifying match between Comoros and Ghana in Moroni was being played. .

Difficult conditions in prison in the Comoros

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Moroni Prison has a capacity of 90 inmates, but typically houses more than 300 inmates. According to Said, there were 200 of them on the day of the escape.

“We were all mixed up: sex offenders, political prisoners, minors. The facility has three cells. Over a hundred of us share a cell with an area of ​​20 square meters,” Chamanoun S., an activist of Mabedja, a local rights defenders' association, described the prison in Moroni in January 2022 human.

“The heat is unbearable, there is no space, no hygiene, no windows, not even ventilation holes. There are always interruptions in water and electricity supply,” Chamanoun described the situation in the prison in the “Prison Insider” publishing house.

“There are no toilets in the cells, and the prisoners have only one ten-liter bucket at their disposal. 80 percent of the prisoners most likely have scabies. The building itself is a ruin, the walls are collapsing. Fights break out all the time. The guards do not control anything, but they torture the prisoners. The security manager in The president's son is in prison,” it added.

Security services in the ComorosReuters Archive

Escapes from prisons in the Comoros

Prison escapes are very common in the archipelago of approximately 870,000 inhabitants, located northeast of Madagascar.

Two years ago, 23 inmates escaped from prison. Then, taking advantage of the mess, they left through the main gate. A year earlier, when the whole country was busy celebrating the victory of the national football team over Kenya, 40 prisoners escaped from prison.

One of the fugitives at that time, Inssa Mohamed, known as Bobocha, accused of participating in the attempted attack on President Azalea Assoumani, was found in Madagascar.

MoroniRostasedlacek / Shutterstock.com

This large island in the Indian Ocean, approximately 900 km away from Comoros, is the main escape destination. On the way lies French Mayotte. It also belongs to the Comoros archipelago, but in 1974, during a referendum, it decided to remain with France, unlike the other islands that chose independence.

Prisoners often take advantage of the fact that the island is just over 100 km away from them and seek freedom on board overloaded boats, mixed with dozens of migrants.

It is estimated that migrants now constitute almost half of Mayotte's population of 310,000 people. From time to time, violent protests, roundups and deportations of migrants break out on the island, which residents of Mayotte blame for rising crime and poverty.

Main photo source: Rostasedlacek / Shutterstock.com

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