Hundreds of inmates are still on the run in Haiti after a massive prison break that resulted in 25 deaths

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  • Hundreds of prisoners escaped prison in Haiti on Thursday, according to multiple news reports. 
  • At least 25 people have died following the break including citizens and prisoners, officials said. 
  • A high-profile gang leader, Arnel Joseph, and the prison’s director also died during the breakout.

More than 20 people have died and hundreds of inmates have escaped after a prison break at a jail nearby Port-au-Prince in Haiti, according to multiple reports. 

Over 200 people escaped from Croix-des-Bouquets Civil penitentiary on Thursday, as the Independent reported. Amid the escape, at least 25 people died, including the prison director and a high-profile gang leader, Arnel Joseph, the report said, citing authorities. 

According to the Associated Press, Joseph was the country’s most-wanted criminal until he was arrested. He faced rape, murder, and kidnapping charges. According to the report, he was seen at a checkpoint on Friday on a motorcycle before he was struck in the midst of gunfire with local police. 

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The bodies of two inmates lie on the street outside the Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Prison after an attempted breakout, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. 

“Twenty-five people died including six prisoners and Divisional Inspector Paul Hector Joseph who was in charge of the prison,” Haiti’s Communication’s Secretary, Frantz Exantus, said during a news conference Friday, according to BBC News. “Among those killed were some ordinary citizens who were killed by the prisoners during their escape.”

Eyewitnesses told the Associated Press they saw armed men shoot at guards at the prison prior to the mass escape. 

In a Twitter post on Friday evening, Exantus said 60 inmates were captured, and over 200 were still at large. 

“I encourage the police to speed up investigations on the circumstances surrounding this incident, redouble its efforts to re-apprehend the escapees, and strengthen security around prisons throughout the country,” Helen La Lime, United Nations Special Representative for Haiti told NPR in a statement. 

The Associated Press reported that hundreds of inmates similarly escaped the prison in 2014.

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