PanARMENIAN.Net – Iraqi authorities enforced a curfew Saturday, Sept 29 on Saddam Hussein’s hometown so that security forces could track down scores of fugitives including al-Qaida-linked militants who escaped from a prison there, authorities said, according to The Associated Press.
The Interior Minister meanwhile said the jailbreak at the Tasfirat prison in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, was an inside job. It put the death toll at 20, including 16 inmates and four guards.
Of 303 inmates at the prison, 102 escaped in the jailbreak, including 47 al-Qaida-linked inmates awaiting execution. Some 23 were recaptured, the statement said.
Mohammed al-Assi, a spokesman for Salahuddin province where the city is located, said Saturday that a curfew was imposed after the Friday jailbreak and remained in force. “The security forces have intensified efforts to hunt down those still on the run,” he said.
The ministry there was “clear collusion” between some guards and inmates in the Tasfirat prison. Weapons were brought into the prison during family visits, and wardens left locks inside the facility open.
“The cells were not searched for a long period, which indicates more deliberate negligence that led to this incident,” it said.
The break began when inmates seized weapons and clashed with security guards in an hours-long standoff.
After taking over a large part of the prison, the rioters used other inmates as human shields in order to make their way out, the statement said.