Maputo — Six men described as “dangerous criminals” escaped from Zambezia provincial prison, in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, early on Thursday morning, according to a report in the independent daily “O Pais”.
The escape was allegedly facilitated by a prison guard named Aleluia Paulo who smuggled two saw blades, hidden in a pair of slippers, into the cell where the six prisoners were incarcerated.
Since there was a thunderstorm in Quelimane on Thursday morning, the other prison guards could not hear the noise made by the blades as the prisoners sawed through the bars preventing access to the roof.
When the guards released that a break-out had occurred, they launched a manhunt through the streets of Quelimane, and managed to re-arrest one of the fugitives, Momade Ossumane.
The prison director, Luis Sabao, told reporters he hoped that Ossumane would tell the police the likely whereabouts of the other five escapees.
As for Aleluia Paulo, he had worked for many years in the prison service, and Sabao did not know why he had decided to help prisoners escape. Paulo will now face disciplinary and criminal proceedings.
Like many other Mozambican jails, the Quelimane prison is overcrowded. It was build to hold 270 prisoners, but currently has over 500 inmates.