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Northern Regional Penitentiary, after the rot last month. [File photo: DW]
The incidents that led to the deaths of three prisoners and the wounding of seven others in northern Mozambique’s main jail in August were caused by the negligence of prison guards, a public prosecutor’s investigation concluded on Tuesday.
The inquiry, by Nampula Provincial Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Hermenegilda da Barca, said prison guards caused panic among prisoners as they entered the cells of one of the Northern Regional Penitentiary cellblocks at night and without warning.
“Entering the cells should not have taken place between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.,” Hermenegilda da Barca said.
The Nampula Provincial Prosecutor’s Office inquiry found that unrest began when one of the prison guards dropped a tear gas grenade in one of the cell, causing distraction among the prisoners.
The guards implemented the night search after receiving information that a mass escape was in preparation.
“Once on the scene, officers went to Cell Number 5 and started the search but, during this, a smoke grenade escaped the custody of one of the agents and the inmates panicked,” the report details.
To prevent deaths by asphyxiation, the guards opened two cells and, in the ensuing confusion, the prisoners vandalised equipment and infrastructure, causing damages estimated at over three million meticais (€44,359).
All the computer equipment in the Criminal Control Department was destroyed.
Following the incident, cases were filed against two prison guards and three prisoners, the Nampula Provincial Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman said.Source: Lusa
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