Four Hkamti prisoners tortured after failed escape bid

Four prisoners who were recaptured after escaping from the jail at the central police station in Sagaing Region’s Hkamti Township last Tuesday are being tortured, according to a local resistance source.

A spokesperson for the Hkamti People’s Defence Force (PDF)  told Myanmar Now that both the police and the military were conducting “searches” inside the jail as part of a crackdown in the wake of the escape.

“The screaming and wailing is so loud that people outside the jail can hear it,” he said, citing local residents.

The four prisoners who are allegedly being tortured are among 14 inmates who broke out of the jail on the morning of October 18. Five were recaptured, but one reportedly died later that day while undergoing interrogation.

Junta police claimed on Telegram that Ah Pon, the prisoner who was killed in custody, died of “fever.”

The other prisoners were identified as Ngwe Shan, Ki Yang, Thet Paing Soe and Phoe Chit. According to the Hkamti PDF spokesperson, Ngwe Shan and Ki Yang have both been charged with terrorism, but no further details were available.

None of the prisoners who escaped last week are believed to have been involved in anti-regime activities. However, the jail holds at least four inmates with alleged ties to the Kachin Independence Army and another three linked to the PDF. 

“The escapees were not involved in the revolution, but some who managed to get away successfully were a part of an ethnic Naga group,” said the PDF spokesperson.

The escapees reportedly broke out of the facility by scraping through iron bars in the jail bathroom and then beating up a police private and seizing his weapon.

A number of prison breaks have taken place in Myanmar since last month.

In mid-September, three activists and two PDF members managed to escape from a prison in Magway Region’s Pakokku Township by cutting through the bars of their cells and using blankets and longyis as a rope to scale the high prison wall.

Later in the month, two members of a local PDF group were rescued while being transported to Mandalay’s Obo Prison in a police van. Several others in the vehicle were later recaptured.

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