The detainees asked to be released to search for relatives, but they were refused.
Of the three prisons on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, 1,200 prisoners escaped, Channel News Asia reported . According to the Ministry of Justice of the country, the convicts were afraid that they would suffer from the earthquake. “This, for sure, is the issue of their life and death,” the ministry said.
Before the massive escape of 343 prisoners from prison in the city of Dongala, arson occurred. The Jakarta Post edition found that the fire broke out after the institution’s management refused to release the defendants for the sake of searching for their relatives, possibly affected by the earthquake or tsunami. The photographs from the scene show that other people were evacuated.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the majority of prisoners were in Dongali prison for corruption and drug cases. The five convicted for terrorism cases were transferred from prison a few days before the incident. In addition, prisoners escaped from two prisons in the city of Palu.
An earthquake of magnitude 6.1, a second impact of 7.5 and a tsunami-induced shock occurred near Sulawesi Island on 28 September. According to the authorities, the number of victims exceeded 1200 people.