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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 9) - Twenty-nine hardcore remand detainees awaiting trial for various crimes have escaped from Baisu Jail in Mt Hagen.

A Baisu jail spokesman said the prisoners cut the security fence using bolt cutters and escaped early last Saturday morning while it was still dark.

Mr. Kunjip said they suspected that some Correctional Service guards might have helped the prisoners to escape.

Correctional Service Minister Melchior Pep has ordered an investigation into the breakout.

[PIR editor’s note: There were two major prison breaks at Baisu in 2005, each freeing 33 prisoners. ]

The direction has been given to acting Commissioner Martin Balthazar.

Meanwhile, a search in the Baisu prison on December 29 revealed that prisoners had in their possession a powerful bolt cutter and many contraband and illegal items, including marijuana.

It is suspected that marijuana was smuggled in when the remand detainees attended court cases in the city, or given to them by their visitors.

Prison officials believe the bolt cutter was smuggled in when the guards were not watching.

Mr. Pep, who was shocked by the discoveries, has instructed the acting commissioner to advise the commanders to do proper search on prisoners and visitors moving in and out the of the jail premises.

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