0801 GMT January 29, 2020
Indonesian authorities said 242 of the prisoners who had managed to break out of the Sialang Bungkuk Prison in Pekanbaru on Friday had been retaken into custody by Sunday morning.
Police have called on the roughly 200 inmates who remain at large to immediately surrender. Police have also asked people with information on the whereabouts of the escapees to immediately report to authorities.
“It would be better for them if they (the escapees) surrendered because our officers in the field will take decisive and measured steps,” said police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Guntur Aryo Tejo.
Police said some of the prisoners surrendered or were returned by their families, while others were hunted down and captured by police, soldiers, and local residents.
Authorities have beefed up police presence in the region.
“The situation is all under control,” National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Rikwanto said on Saturday.
The overcrowded penitentiary accommodates 1,800 inmates in only 361 cells.
The mass escape was reportedly triggered by the prisoners’ anger and disappointment at the harsh conditions in the prison.
“Information we received says several prison officers had often triggered conflicts with prisoners, so they decided to flee via several doors in the prison that were open during the Friday prayers,” said Ferdinan Siagian, the head of the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Pekanbaru office.
Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where prisons are struggling with overcrowding, poor funding, and an influx of people arrested under a war on drugs.
In July 2013, about 240 prisoners, including several convicted terrorists, escaped following a deadly riot at a prison in Medan, the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra Province.