Riot Police Advance in Roumiyeh Prison to Disperse Mutiny, Free Hostages

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Riot Police Advance in Roumiyeh Prison to Disperse Mutiny, Free Hostages

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:17 am

Riot
policemen inched their way across the convicts building of the central
Roumiyeh Prison Thursday to disperse a mutiny and free eight guards
taken hostages.


Security
sources told Naharnet hundreds of riot policemen advanced across the
ground floor of the building after firefighters extinguished a blaze
that inmates had started in mattresses after taking guards hostage.


"The
riot police force moved into the building through emergency outlets,
cleared the ground floor which includes the management offices and
moved into the first floor" of the three-story building, said one
source who asked not to be identified. Each floor includes 60 cells.


"In
brief, the force would have to search 180 cells. It is expected to be a
complicated operation that might last until Friday, unless the
mutineers surrender," he added.


The rioting inmates are armed with makeshift knives, and "sharp tools," the source added.

"They
don't have firearms simply because the guards they took hostage were
not armed in line with prison rules," the source explained.


The advancing force is using "tear gas canisters to control the inmates, some of whom are surrendering," he added.

Most of the mutineers are convicts of Palestinian descent, the source said.

He
explained that four ex-security commanders, jailed in Roumiyeh in
connection with the 2005 murder of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, are in
"another building that is 150 meters away from the convicts' compound."


Meanwhile,
army paratroopers cordoned off the walled prison compound sitting on a
hill east of Beirut, in a precautionary measure to prevent possible
escape of mutineers or reinforcement.


The mutiny started at 4:35 p.m. as a dispute between one of the inmates and a guard distributing food, the source added.

"It quickly developed into a mutiny as other inmates joined in and overpowered guards," he added.


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