Monday, April 15, 2024

Guyana police hunt for death row inmate after deadly prison riot and fire

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GEORGETOWN – Authorities in Guyana were on the hunt last night for a death row inmate believed to have masterminded a weekend prison riot that destroyed the country’s largest jail and killed a warder.

A fire during the riot destroyed the Camp Street Prison, primarily made from wood, which housed just over 1 000 inmates. It was built to accommodate 600.

President David Granger said that while the prison had been destroyed, the authorities’ priority was to ensure the safety of the Guyanese people.

“Guyanese can be assured that there are not going to be prisoners roaming about the city or countryside,” he told the state broadcaster.

However, five people escaped, including Mark Royden Williams, sentenced to death by hanging in February for his part in the Bartica massacre in 2008 in which 12 were killed, including three police officers.

Director of Prisons Gladwin Samuels said Williams had sought his freedom on Sunday and plotted with another inmate to set the building on fire and escape.

A prison officer, Odinga Wickham, died of gunshot wounds, though details of the shooting were unclear.

The fire began around 5 p.m. on Sunday, but emergency services were unable to enter to building as many prisoners were armed, said authorities. (Reuters)

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