Over 1,300 Inmates Escape From Prison After Armed Attackers Storm DRC Correctional Facility

Over 1,300 inmates have escaped from a prison in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Beni Kangbayi prison in North Kivu was stormed by armed attackers early on Tuesday morning.

At least 1,300 prisoners escaped and just 110 voluntarily chose to stay, the non-violent Congolese citizen movement La Lucha told Newsweek.

It comes just one day after 200 inmates fled from a prison in the Edo state of Nigeria.

#RDC 🇨🇩 : Etat de la prison centrale de #Kangbwayi de #Beni ce 20 Octobre 2020 après son attaque tôt ce matin par des assaillants armés. Les verrous de la porte principale d'entrée de cette maison carcérale cassés. #NORDKIVU pic.twitter.com/knPdnhuidV

— Martial Papy Mukeba (@MartialMukeba) October 20, 2020

Journalist Martial Papy Mukeba specified that 1,337 of all 1,447 prison detainees escaped from the DRC jailhouse.

He said that armed Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and Mai-Mai rebel groups were among those who fled."

The reporter wrote on Twitter: "Attack early this morning on #Kangbwayi central prison in #Beni. At least 1,337 detainees including fighters from the armed groups #ADF and #MaiMai escaped. 1,447 detainees were in the prison. The heavily armed assailants have so far been unidentified."

On Tuesday morning, Beni's interim Mayor Muhindo Bakwanamaha told Congolese news outlet Kis24 that the assailants had been identified as Ugandan ADF rebels.

Gunshots could be heard in the city at around 3 a.m. as attackers confronted security forces at the prison, according to the publication.

Bakwanamaha confirmed that more than 1,000 rebels had been released and just 110 had remained in the prison.

He said: "There was a simultaneous attack on Kangbayi prison and on the hill overlooking the prison where elements are positioned to ensure its safety."

The attackers arrived in large numbers with electrical equipment to break down the prison door, the mayor added.

"We only have 110 voluntary detainees left out of the 1,000 who escaped. It is regrettable, we deplore this is what happened," Bakwanamaha told Kis24.

He also called on citizens in the city to help in their efforts to recover the fugitives.
In June 2017, more than 900 prisoners were released by attackers from Kangbayi prison.

The ADF is an Islamist militant group from neighboring Uganda that has been active in the east Congo since the 1990s.

Newsweek has contacted the Congolese national police for comment.