12 July 2013 13:45 | By AFP, with additional reporting by MSN News
Five dead in Indonesia prison break

Angry at frequent power cuts and water shortages at the prison, inmates rioted and set fire to the jail. 55 prisoners have been recaptured while an estimated 100 inmates are still on the loose

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"Three are prisoners, two are prison staff," said Heru Prakoso, North Sumatra province police spokesman, adding they died in fires at the facility.

Security forces were still struggling to regain control of the prison in Medan city on Sumatra island on Friday after riots erupted the previous day. Around 150 people escaped during the unrest at the Tanjung Gusta prison, he said. Inmates set the jail on fire after becoming angry at power cuts and water shortages at the prison.

Prakoso said around 55 prisoners who had escaped had been recaptured, including three terror convicts. However, around 100 prisoners were still on the loose, including six terror convicts, he said.

The prison had been holding a total of 11 terror convicts. Some of them had been involved in militant training in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, while others were involved in a bank robbery, he said.

Hundreds of soldiers and police were deployed late Thursday to regain control of the jail, as security forces launched a desperate search to track down the escapees.

"The prisoners were annoyed by a blackout and problems getting water, which they said happens often at the prison," Heru Prakoso, North Sumatra province police spokesman, told AFP.

An AFP reporter at the scene said the building was still ablaze at 10:00 pm (1500 GMT), hours after the fire started early in the afternoon and that the riots were continuing, with prisoners hurling bottles and setting new fires.

As well as some 700 police and soldiers deployed to regain control, search teams were hunting through Medan by night to find the fugitives. Firefighters were also battling to put out the blazes at the prison.

Prakoso said there were usually 2,600 prisoners held in the jail, and that the police and prison authorities have since beefed up security at the site to ensure more detainees did not escape.

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