Prisoners at the Male Correctional Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital today Wednesday 29 April 2020 staged a protest by setting one of their cells on fire.
The Ministry of Information and Communication has released a press release concerning the fire incidence at the prison which they stated it was a failed attempt to escape from prison by some of the inmates.
“According to preliminary investigation the incident is said to be an attempted prison break. The situation has been brought under control. A full assessment of damage and injuries is ongoing and Government will provide the public with full details. A comprehensive investigation has also been launched into the incident. Findings will also be made public as soon as possible” the statement reads.
The fires caused some casualties leaving 7 dead and several others injured. The dead were 2 prison officers and 5 prisoners, one of the prison officers has been identified as Hassan Bangura but further information on their deaths is yet to be released. But sources say Bangura was stabbed to death during the riot which resulted in his death.
The Minister of Information and Communication Mohamed Rahman Swaray posted on his Facebook page that some historical structures in the prison grounds like the kitchen and the administrative structures were destroyed; it also continued that no high stake prisoner cell was affected by the fire.
Joint security forces were deployed at the scene as soon as the fire was detected in order to calm the situation and aiding the Fire Force to put out the fire.
“This morning we saw fire billowing from inside the prison and loud noise from inmates shouting for help,” Cecil Cole Showers, a spokesperson for Pademba Road Prison.
Sierra Leone has recorded 116 total cumulative positive cases of the virus, with 4 deaths, 14 recovered, 1166 in quarantine, and 1426 people being discharged from quarantine.
The Pademba Road Prison was built in 1914 for 300 inmates by the British Colonialist. The prison now houses more than a thousand inmates.
In other fire related news for today the United States Embassy compound in Freetown’s lower parking lot was on fire. However the cause of the fire could not be disclosed as investigation was ongoing. No injuries was sustained.