BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian security forces have retaken control of a prison in the country’s west following a riot on Thursday, an official said.
The riot began when three inmates refused to be transferred to another prison, said Edy Hardoyo, the head of Aceh province correctional office. Other inmates joined in the protest before it turned violent.
He said the three inmates who started the riot were angry that they will be transferred to a prison in neighboring province of North Sumatra, far from their families.
Angered inmates torched the Banda Aceh prison, which has a capacity to house 400 inmates but now has more than 540 inmates.
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Eight fire trucks were mobilized to extinguish the fire while hundreds of police and soldiers were being deployed around the prison to prevent prisoners from escaping.
“The situation is now under control,” Hardoyo said, adding that no one was hurt.
Riots and jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a problem in facilities that are struggling to cope with poor funding and an influx of people arrested in a war on drugs. Most prisoners have been convicted on drug charges.
Last year, more than 440 prisoners escaped from a penitentiary in neighboring Riau province when they were let out of their cells to take part in Friday Muslim prayers.
In July 2013, about 240 prisoners, including several convicted terrorists, escaped during a deadly riot at a prison in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.