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One inmate has been confirmed dead following a scuffle between some of the inmates and security personnel during the attempted jailbreak.
Four prison wardens sustained injuries and are on admission at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. They are said to be responding to treatment.
Aside from the four, some other officers, including the second in command of the Buffalo Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Edward Obeng Boateng, had a cut on his right hand, and the Ashanti Regional Prisons Commander, Deputy Director of Prions (DDP) Mr William Ofori-Anoff, also suffered a minor injury on his leg.
The Kumasi Central Prison, originally built to accommodate less than 700 people, currently houses 2,140 inmates.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, the Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Prisons Service, Assistant Superintendent of Prisons (ASP) Mr James Annan, said at 8 p.m. yesterday, fire broke out in one of the cells of the prison.
As a result, he said, the cell was opened for the inmates to go into the open, while the wardens tried to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.
He said while the wardens were at it, the other inmates, fearing that the fire could spread to their cells, started agitating and asked that they too be allowed to go into the open.
He said the inmates who were out managed to break open the doors to the cells, enabling those inside to troop out, thereby compromising security.
Mr Annan said the inmates then decided to attempt a jailbreak by attacking the officers on duty.
“They broke into our offices, damaged computers, fridges, files, fans and furniture,” he said.
He said the swift arrival of the police and some military men from the Fourth Infantry Battalion quickly brought the situation under control.
The police used tear gas and rubber bullets on the inmates to bring the situation under control.
He said investigations were ongoing to establish the cause of the fire. Mr Annan, however, ruled out an electrical fault resulting from the ongoing load shedding, explaining, “We do not experience load shedding here.” He could not tell if there had been any escape during the incident.
“We are now assessing the damage caused and conducting a head count to determine if anybody is missing,” he said.