Eleven fugitives re-captured in Bahrain after escaping jail

Eleven fugitives re-captured in Bahrain after escaping jail
Eleven of the 17 prisoners who escaped a detention centre in Bahrain were captured by security forces on Saturday following a major manhunt on the small island.
2 min read
05 June, 2016
Despite crackdown, anti-government demonstrators frequently clash with police in Shia villages outside the capital [AFP]

Eleven prisoners who had broken out of jail were captured on Saturday by Bahraini security forces, leaving six others still at large a day after their escape on the small island.

A group of 17 detainees broke out of al-Hadd jail near the dry dock on the island of Muharraq, part of the Bahrain archipelago, east of the capital Manama, late on Friday.

"They managed to seize a bus and get away after assaulting warders and police, wounding several of them," reported Bahrain's Akhbar al-Khaleej newspaper.

A group of five accomplices were also arrested on Saturday, the interior ministry said

Bahrain's interior minister, Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, chaired an emergency meeting to assess the circumstances of the prisoners' escape, Bahrain New Agency reported.

A search of the 300 square-mile island, an area around the size of Charlotte, North Carolina, was still underway on Saturday night.

Bahrain's interior minister cautioned against sheltering the six fugitives still at large. All are aged 20 and 21.

"[The minister] warned against aiding and abetting the remaining fugitives," Bahrain New Agency said.

No details were given on whether the escapees had been imprisoned for anti-government activities or if they were inmates accused of common crimes.

Political activists in Bahrain have faced detention following a five-year crackdown on dissent across the kingdom.

The country's Shia majority led an uprising calling for reforms in 2011 which was crushed by the country's ruling elite.

Five years after the uprising, demonstrators still take to the streets and clash with police in Shia towns surrounding Manama, but are met with a government response considered heavy-handed by many analysts.

Human rights activists and organisations have accused the Bahraini security services of arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force against protesters.

Earlier this month, Amnesty urged Bahraini authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release jailed opposition figures.

"The alarming erosion of human rights in Bahrain in recent years means that anyone who dares to criticise the authorities or call for reform risks severe punishment," said Amnesty's regional deputy director, James Lynch.

 Agencies contributed to this report.