Gbarnga, Bong County - Over 20 inmates have escaped in a fresh jailbreak at the Gbarnga Central Prison in Bong County in the afternoon hours of April 5, 2017.
Bong County Attorney, Wilkins Nah, told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday the incident happened at about 1:PM when the inmates who were out for “sun bath” beat prison guards who were on duty, took the keys of the main gate and escaped.
“I was in court when the prison superintendent called and told me that the prisoners who were on sun bath beat society guards and took the key of the main gate and escaped,” Nah said quoting a prison officer.
The Gbarnga Central prison has the capacity to accommodate 150 inmates.
However, it was accommodating about 200 inmates at the time of the jailbreak, Wednesday.
One of the escaped inmates was re-arrested almost immediately by security agents, Nah said.
This is the third jailbreak recorded at the prison as the facility has witnessed similar jailbreaks in 2010 and 2013.
In previous jailbreaks, 10 inmates escaped from the prison and majority was awaiting trial.
Wednesday’s jailbreak at the Gbarnga Central prison has a different signature from what was experienced between 2010 and 2013, another period of frequent jailbreaks at the prison.
Then, jailbreaks were reportedly facilitated by outsiders who attacked prison formations to free their remanded or detained cohorts. But Wednesday jailbreak was carried out by inmates who beat security on duty and escaped.
FrontPageAfrica tour of the prison facility established that there are lapses at the prison including overcrowding caused by delay in the administration of justice, inadequate personnel to man the prisons facilities, unmotivated personnel who work twelve-hour shifts.
FrontPageAfrica also observed the slow process of administration of justice with an overwhelming number of inmates awaiting trial.
According to Jesse B. Cole, Regional Coordinator of the Catholic, Justice and Peace Commission, this challenge compounded by the snail pace of the criminal justice system in Liberia and lack of logistics to convey inmates to courts, makes prison administration a tall task for authorities.
Cole, who toured the prison facility Wednesday with our reporter said, the Gbarnga Central prison is overstretched.
FrontPageAfrica gathered Wednesday as a result of overcrowding, the convicts and pre-trial detainees were being kept together.
Nah confirmed the situation to FrontPage Africa. He, however, argued that there wouldn’t be jailbreaks in the country if prisons officers had taken their daily routines seriously.