Iraq arrests 22 policemen after prison escape

March 24, 2012 17:31

KIRKUK - Iraq on Saturday detained 22 policemen and guards employed at a temporary prison in the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk after 19 inmates - most of them facing terrorism charges - escaped.

The prisoners fled the jail, based inside a fortified police compound in central Kirkuk, early on Friday, removing the ventilator in a bathroom and using blankets to escape through the opening.

"We have detained 22 police officers and employees who are in charge of the prison. They are under investigation," Major-General Jamal Tahir, the police chief in Kirkuk province, told a news conference.

"We have increased the number of guard posts at the prison and the search is on for the escapees. Their pictures were handed out to police patrols and a reward will be given to those who provide information leading to the arrest of the escapees."

Tahir said one of the prisoners had been captured by Kurdish Asaish security forces in Arbil in the autonomous northern Kurdish region and handed back to Kirkuk police.

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