Following several local reports that a prison riot had broken out at Sana’a special terror penitentiary, government officials had to reluctantly admit that detainees had indeed attacked prison guards in an attempted break out.
Yemen thwarts al-Qaeda prison break-out
A security official confirmed that at least three inmates have sustained such severe injuries they were now in critical condition.
“Almost 300 al-Qaeda prisoners, armed with knives and iron bars, attacked prison guards, injuring some of them,” al-Jazeera quoted a government official as saying on Wednesday.
According to an official statement, violence broke out after inmates refused to return to their cells, “chanting and scuffling” with the guards. As security tried to regain control of the situation and prevent a full blown riot, tear gas were launched at prisoners and gun shots fired into the air. Nine detainees were hurt in the commotion, three critically.
In one media report, government sources claimed that an inmate stabbed a chief investigator to death, thus prompting other inmates to rebel and attempt a break out. Several prisoners managed to smash down their cells’ doors and break through the prison first security barrier after having stolen firearms from guards.
A stand-off soon occurred after inmates used security personnel as human shields, hoping to negotiate their safe release for their own freedom.
A security source stated that security officers ordered the dispatch of additional troops immediately around the prison perimeter as to pre-empt on any attempts from the outside to facilitate the detainees’ escape.
Fears are that al-Qaeda will try to make notorious terror leader Nasser Al Wahishi’s words true. He said in statement this August, “prisoners who are in the jails of the oppressors because of their religion … Rejoice … as your brothers are pounding the walls of injustice and demolishing the thrones of oppression… We have not forgotten you and will never forget you.”