Maputo — Six suspects have been arrested, including five prison guards, after 17 prisoners escaped on Sunday from the main jail facility in the central Mozambican province of Sofala.
The sixth suspect is the driver of one of the vehicles used to transport the fugitives, who was caught in the act, according to a statement released on Monday by the National Prison Service and cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily paper "O Pais".
The fugitives used two cars to escape from prison, one Toyota Corolla and a Ford Ranger. The first car was seized by police while the second is still at large.
Of the 17 fugitives 10 are convicted criminals while the others were in preventive detention.
"From the findings gathered on the site, it was found out that one hour prior to the occurrence the duty officer dismissed two prison guards on duty. Then, he opened the cells of the prison and without enough support in that perimeter he went to the main gate that gives access to the outside of the prison establishment, through which the prisoners fled", reads a press release of the National Prison Service.
At the same time, prison authorities noticed an unusual movement of two unidentified vehicles outside the premises which raised the alarm.
The National Prison Service has already opened a full investigation into the case.
The last prison break was reported in 2012, when at least nine dangerous convicted criminals escaped.
The inmates escaped during a torrential rain through one of the prison windows.