Police in Papua New Guinea have shot dead at least 11 prisoners and wounded another 17 after a jailbreak in the Pacific nation's second largest city of Lae, news reports said on Friday.

More than 30 men attacked two guards and fled the Buimo Correctional Institution on Thursday afternoon. The jail chief quickly alerting police who gave chase on foot, PNG network EMTV said.

"It is confirmed that 11 prisoners have been shot and killed and 17 wounded and recaptured," Lae Metropolitan Superintendent Anthony Wagambie told the broadcaster.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that 12 prisoners had been shot dead.

At least 64 escapees were still at large, the ABC reported, quoting the country's correctional services.

The PNG Today website said the escapees were high-risk prisoners serving time for offences including murder and rape.

It was the second recent breakout from the jail. More than 50 prisoners escaped last year. Several were reportedly shot.

In 2009, 73 prisoners cut through two fences to escape from the same facility, ABC reported.
Crime in Papua New Guinea, where many still live poverty-stricken lives in remote areas, is rampant. The World Bank said in 2014 it was hampering the nation's economic development.
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Source: Agencies