By Joseph Guyler Delva
Most inmates of a northern Haitian prison escaped on Saturday after killing a guard and stealing firearms, said authorities who launched a manhunt with support from U.N. peacekeepers for the 174 fugitives.
Police set up checkpoints on roads leading from the prison and detained several people without identity cards, a Reuters witness said. However, the 266 inmates of Arcahaie prison do not wear uniforms, making it easier for escapees to mingle outside.
Eleven inmates were caught during the break, which happened during a period when some were bathing, officials said. The inmates broke into an area used by the guards, stealing at least five rifles among other weapons. One guard was shot dead.
Haiti’s Minister Of Justice, Camille Edouard Junior, said one prisoner died after falling off a wall and hitting his head during the escape from the Arcahaie prison on the coast north of capital Port-au-Prince.
“One guard was killed during the incident,” Edouard Junior told Reuters. “Three prisoner were wounded, including one who died as a consequence of his wounds.”
In the aftermath of the escape, the guard’s bloodied body lay at the prison and discarded sandals were scattered on the ground.
The U.S. embassy in Haiti issued a security message about “a violent prison break in Arcahaie,” and advised its citizens to avoid the area.