The escape began after a group of armed prisoners kidnapped and killed the prison's director, Paul Joseph. Witnesses claim that outside the facility armed men began shooting at guards before the inmates escaped.
"We believe there was a coordinated action. The prisoners could escape with the help of people from outside," Haiti's Prime Minister Joseph Joute said as he assured police controlled the violent incident.
During the police operation, at least seven people were shot in the streets surrounding the prison. Joute believes there are other fatalities inside the penitentiary.
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The victims' names and the identity of those who killed them have not yet been confirmed. Police did inform that 40 escaped prisoners were arrested.
Local outlets presume that Arnel Joseph, a notorious gang leader accused of murder, kidnapping, conspiracy, and other crimes, is among those who escaped from the prison. He has not been found by the police yet.
The riot occurred amid a political crisis aggravated after President Jovenel Moise arrested a dozen opponents, sparking a new wave of protests against him.
In 2014, there was also an escape attempt at the prison, considered one of the largest and most secure penitentiaries in the country. On that occasion, about 300 people escaped from the center.
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