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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistani Authorities Search for Escaped Prisoners

April 16, 2012

VOA News

Authorities in northwest Pakistan are looking for more than 300 inmates who escaped from a prison after Taliban militants raided the facility on Sunday.

Four senior officials at the prison in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province were suspended Monday after about 150 insurgents, armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades, stormed the prison, freeing 388 prisoners.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the jailbreak.

Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters 66 prisoners have voluntarily returned and that none of those escapees were high-level terrorists. He called for a full probe.

"The brazen style and execution of the attacks by the militants demands the incident must be investigated and actions must be taken against those responsible," said Hussain. "It is logical that such incidents triggers fears of insecurity among the public."

The prison in the town of Bannu houses nearly 1,000 inmates.

Authorities suspended the inspector general of prisons, Bannu district inspector general of police, a police commissioner, and the Bannu jail deputy superintendent.

Bannu borders Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal agency, a known hub of Taliban and al-Qaida extremists.

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