Indonesia: riot in Bali jail

From AAP: Bali’s notorious Kerobokan jail is expected to remain in lockdown for days in the wake of a riot in which inmates gained control of the prison, including offices just metres from the compound’s front gate.

About 100 heavily-armed police entered the jail early on Wednesday morning to put down the riot which erupted after days of simmering tensions linked to a similar outbreak of violence at the weekend.

While three prisoners were taken to hospital after being shot in the leg with rubber bullets when riot police stormed the jail, Bali Police chief Totoy Herawan Indra said there were no serious injuries.

“Three inmates were shot with rubber bullets and one security officer was wounded,” Major-General Indra said.

No foreign prisoners were hurt and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra said it had confirmed that the 12 Australians held at the jail, including drug traffickers Schapelle Corby and members of the Bali Nine, were all safe.

None of the Australians were involved in the violence.

The riot broke out about 11pm on Tuesday, with prisoners trashing cells and throwing stones at the guards who were forced to retreat to the street outside the overcrowded jail which houses more than 1000 male and female inmates.

Some prisoners were then able to gain access to the registration wing of the jail, within metres of the entrance to the facility, where they set offices and furniture alight.

The registration wing, close to where Bali Nine drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are housed, was all but destroyed by fire.

The inmates were in charge of the inside of the jail for almost seven hours with outgoing prison governor Siswanto describing the situation at the time as “out of control”.

However, prison authorities said the integrity of the jail’s walls was never at risk and that guards had been stationed around the compound’s perimeter to ensure there were no escapes.

The jail, which is in a suburban area of Kerobokan and about a 30-minute drive from Bali’s international airport, was built to hold just over 300 prisoners.

It now holds more than three times that number.

While overcrowding remains a problem, it’s understood the latest riot was linked to the stabbing on Sunday of one prisoner and subsequent arrest of three other inmates from a rival drug gang.

The stabbing triggered a response from a large group of other prisoners who then attacked those believed to be responsible for the stabbing before riot police were called in at about 4pm on Sunday to quell the violence.

A senior prison officer, who did not wished to be named, told AAP that “tensions had been rising” since the incident on Sunday.

The rampage on Tuesday night is the latest outbreak of violence at Kerobokan and follows a riot last June after a raid to arrest a prisoner suspected of running a drug operation from inside the prison.

A number of police and prison officers were injured during the raid which was conducted in the early hours of the morning.

It also comes after a prisoner was found dead in his cell in January this year one day after he was admitted.

He had been tortured by more than a dozen fellow inmates.

While authorities had regained control of the prison in the wake of Tuesday’s riot, Major-General Indra said hundreds of police and soldiers would remain on standby outside the jail as a precaution in the event of further violence.

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