Thirty-four prisoners have escaped from a Congolese jail, an official told dpa Monday, as the troubled African country's prisons experience severe food shortages.
Breakouts are not uncommon from Congo's chronically overcrowded jails, with about 5,000 convicts having escaped in the past four months alone, according to Interior Ministry figures. Sometimes the
prisoners are broken out by the rebel groups they are aligned with.
However, the most recent escapees fled the prison because of bad conditions and lack of food and medicine, according to Masumbuko Desire, the chief administrator in Mwenga in Congo's South Kivu
province where the jail is located.
They broke through the prison wall with iron bars during heavy rain on Sunday, he said, adding that 27 of the escapees had been convicted for sexual violence.
"We managed to recapture three, so 31 fugitives are still on the run," he added.
Earlier this month, one Congolese jail - unable to feed its inmates - carried starving prisoners outside and laid them in the street to attract charity from passersby, according to local media reports.
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