Indonesia: Police hunt inmates after mass prison break in Sumatra

More than 100 prisoners escape after rioting and fire break out at detention centre in the island's Siak district.

    Police recaptured 115 prisoners later on Saturday but dozens still remain at large [Wahyudi/AFP]
    Police recaptured 115 prisoners later on Saturday but dozens still remain at large [Wahyudi/AFP]

    Authorities have launched a massive manhunt on Indonesia's Sumatra island after more than 100 inmates escaped from prison.

    The prison break came early in the morning on Saturday after rioting and a fire broke out at the detention centre in the island's Siak district.

    Widodo Eko Prihastopo, the Riau province police chief, said 115 prisoners had been recaptured by late morning, but dozens of detainees from a prison population of nearly 650 remained at large.

    "Police with assistance from the army and surrounding community are still searching for the rest," Prihastopo said.

    The rioting came after guards beat several inmates who were caught using methamphetamine, police said.

    Three detainees suffered stab wounds and a policeman was shot during the rioting, the local health office told AFP news agency.

    Prison breaks are common in Indonesia, where inmates are often held in unsanitary conditions at overcrowded prisons.

    In July 2013, about 240 prisoners escaped during a deadly riot at a prison in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.

    In November last year, 113 prisoners fled from the Lambaro prison in Banda Aceh city. Earlier that year, more than 400 inmates broke out at an overcrowded prison in Riau province.

    The prison break came early in the morning on Saturday [Wahyudi/AFP]

    SOURCE: AFP news agency