Mon, 08 Dec 2003

Two of seven escapees apprehended in Medan

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan, North Sumatra

Two of seven detainees who broke out of detention cell in Medan, North Sumatra, were recaptured on Saturday night, police said here on Sunday.

Medan Police detectives chief Adj. Comr. Maruli Siahaan said Azhar Novi, 37, and Rudiansyah Lubis, 24, were rearrested at different places following a tipoff from locals.

Maruli said his personnel shot robbery suspect Rudiansyah in the right leg, claiming he tried to escape, while Novi who had been detained on charges of sexual assault was apprehended at his parents' house on Jl. Pancing, Medan.

Novi's parents had notified the local police about their son's whereabouts, Maruli added.

The two and five other detainees escaped on Dec. 1 by cutting through rusty bars on a window in a bathroom with a hacksaw. The suspects used sarongs tied to the bars to climb down the wall.

At least four officers and a number of other detainees had been questioned in connection with the case, as the local police believed that the jailbreak was well planned and involved the assistance of outsiders.

Maruli said the police continued to hunt for the five escapees still on the run -- Musjiono alias Yono, 36, Muhammad Saleh, 33, Muhammad Iqbal, 24, Aslan Alkana, 21, and Sudipi, 22.

"We suspect that they are still in North Sumatra," Maruli added.

The seven were among 25 detainees awaiting trial, some of whom were charged in drug cases. The other 18 detainees opted to stay put.

Jailbreaks are commonplace in Indonesia, with negligence or collusion on the part of prison guards usually the norm.

In September, 52 prisoners broke out of an overcrowded prison on the island of Batam, Riau province.

The 52 inmates -- all convicted on drug charges -- escaped after sawing through the iron bars of their cells and attacking guards.