CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti — At least seven prisoners and a police officer were killed and another person injured on Thursday after several inmates, including one of Haiti’s most powerful gang leaders, escaped from a prison in Port-au-Prince, the capital, the authorities said.
The spokesman for the national police, Gary Desrosiers, told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste that about 40 prisoners were apprehended after the riot at the Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Prison, in north Port-au-Prince. It is not known how many prisoners in total had escaped.
Before his arrest, the gang leader, Arnel Joseph, was the most-wanted gangster in Haiti.
Haiti’s prime minister, Joseph Jouthe, told Le Nouvelliste that the authorities had retaken control of the prison, which was also the site of a major prison break in 2014, during which more than 300 inmates escaped.
Residents in the area told The Associated Press that they had observed a group of heavily armed men shoot at prison guards before the inmates began to flee.
One escapee, Jhon Hippolyte, 37, was shot in the back. He told The A.P. that he had been serving a murder sentence and was in the infirmary when he noticed everybody running and decided to join them.
A.P. journalists saw the bodies of at least seven men along streets near the prison. They appeared to have been shot. Their identities were not immediately available, and it wasn’t clear if they were inmates. It also wasn’t clear who had killed them.
Video captured by residents shows one police officer leading a group of men tied together with a rope. It wasn’t immediately clear if they were inmates.