The attack on a Haitian prison on the capital’s outskirts to free the son of a prominent businessman being held on kidnapping charges has led to the escape of 329 inmates.
Police were searching nationwide for the escaped prisoners and have also asked for help from Interpol as well as authorities in the neighboring Dominican Republic and nearby Jamaica because some men may have fled abroad, National Police Chief Godson Orleus said at a news conference in Port-au-Prince on Monday.
Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers said 10 escaped prisoners had been recaptured.
Residents of the small town told the AFP news agency that several hundred people came out of the prison, running in every direction, just moments after intense gunfire broke out in the jail.
At least two guards suffered bullet wounds in the attack, which occurred shortly before noon at the Croix-des-Bouquets prison.
Desrosiers told reporters the raid apparently was aimed at freeing Clifford Brandt, a businessman who has been imprisoned since 2012 on charges of kidnapping at least two children.
“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,” Desrosiers said.
“We are already actively searching for a numbers of fugitives – especially Clifford Brant. We are asking the population to collaborate with us.”
Haiti’s government offered a reward of about $20,000 for information leading to the recapture of Brandt.
The prison was built in 2012 with Canadian financial aid to replace a prison devastated by the country’s 2010 earthquake.