UN voices concern after mass prison outbreak in DR Congo

7 September 2011 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is voicing concern about prison security in the impoverished nation after a mass outbreak earlier today from a jail in the DRC’s southeast.

More than 960 prisoners – including Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, a notorious former head of the Maï-Maï militia – escaped during the outbreak, which followed an organized attack by armed men on the jail, located on the outskirts of the city of Lubumbashi.

Media reports indicate that about 150 of the prisoners have already been recaptured, but Mr. Mutanga remains at large. He is facing a death sentence after being convicted in 2009 by a Congolese military court of war crimes, crimes against humanity, insurgency and terrorism.

“National authorities are currently searching for him and have launched a manhunt,” said Madnodje Mounabai, a spokesperson for the peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO), in an interview with the UN News Centre.

“Beyond the escape of Commander Gédéon, who has a special dimension because of his profile, this incident poses the more general question of the security of prisons in the country, [with] escapes recurring,” he said.


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