Riot in coronavirus-hit prison leaves about 7 people dead

At least seven people have died and several others are injured in a prison riot in the Pademba Road Prison in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.

Prison

According to African News Network (ANN), the riot which took place on Wednesday left five inmates and two guards dead.

The police a part of the prison where 2000 inmates live was set on fire by the prisoners.

The media believes the riot broke out after the Chief Justice said an inmate at Pademba prison had tested positive for coronavirus and been transferred out of the facility for treatment.

The inmates after hearing the news tried to escape since they feared they mat contract the disease.

However, the government said it believed the unrest had nothing to do with the pandemic but was rather caused by a failed prison break.

The information ministry said authorities were still collecting information about injuries and damage to the facility.

This is not the first riot recorded in the prison. The prison has recorded a number of riots due to overcrowding and poor conditions.

Its numbers have risen in recent days following the transfer of inmates from a reintegration centre to the prison due to the pandemic.

According to a U.S. State Department human rights report, the prison was built to house 324 inmates but held over 2,000 in 2019. A condition the organization described as harsh and life-threatening.

Sierra Leonne has so far recorded 104 cases of coronavirus and 5 deaths.

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