July 16, 2012
Police are searching for 40 Afghan asylum seekers who escaped from a Tanjungpinang, Riau detention center early Monday morning, an official said.
“They fled at around 3:00 a.m.,” Yunus Junaid, the head of the Tanjungpinang immigration detention center, told the Antara news agency.
The detainees were all housed in a cell block on the third story of the detention center. They reportedly managed to saw through iron bars on the third and second floor, climb onto the roof of the first floor and then disappear into the swamps in neighboring Kampung Bulang, Yunus said.
The men likely went to great pains to ensure their escape went unnoticed.
“They possibly used steel wires to cut the iron bars because if they had used a steel saw, it would have been heard by the wardens,” Yunus said.
Three and a half hours later, police caught 15 of the escapees hiding in a swamp in Kampung Bulang, he said. The men were arrested after a brief brawl with guards.
“[The] migrants had equipped themselves with knives and blunt objects. One [guard] was bitten on the hand,” Yunus said.
Police were searching for the remaining 40 immigrants Monday afternoon.
The immigration detention center houses 331 immigrants who entered the country illegally or violated Indonesia’s immigration laws.