47 jailbreakers rearrested in Peshawar
PESHAWAR: Police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have rearrested 47 prisoners who escaped during a sophisticated Taliban attack on a jail that killed 13 people, officials said on Wednesday. The prisoners were held late Tuesday and on Wednesday, with some handing themselves in and others caught in a police search operation, officials said.
They included five women prisoners and a female police constable who had been taken hostage. Armed with guns, mortars, rocket–propelled grenades and bombs, the Taliban bombarded the prison in Dera Ismail Khan before escaping with inmates after a three–hour shootout.
Pakistani officials at the time said that at least 248 prisoners had escaped but on Wednesday they said a total of 252 prisoners got away; of whom 47 were now back in custody. “Until today, 47 prisoners have either come on their own or been rearrested by police,” Aamir Khan Khatak, a senior government official in Dera Ismail Khan told AFP.
Malik Qasim, prisons adviser to the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told AFP that four women prisoners had handed themselves in. A female police constable who was freed by the Taliban after she was taken hostage had also reached safety, he added. A jail official in the city confirmed the arrests. The Central Prison in Dera Ismail Khan can hold up to 5,000 inmates and around 300 were being held in connection with attacks on security forces and sectarian killings.
But it was not clear how many were present during the assault, which began late Monday and ended early Tuesday. The city is close to Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt bordering Afghanistan where Taliban and Al–Qaeda-linked insurgents are most active.
The Pakistani Taliban, which has led a domestic insurgency since 2007 killing thousands of people, claimed responsibility for the jailbreak. Among the dead were six police officers, one civilian, two attackers and four prisoners, officials said. It was not the first time either the Afghan Taliban or their Pakistani counterparts have claimed prison breaks. In April 2012, nearly 400 prisoners escaped from a jail outside Bannu during a similar insurgent raid.
A year later, almost 500 – mostly Taliban – inmates made it out of a prison in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province through a 250–metre (820–foot) tunnel lined with lights and an air pipe.