Yaounde-Three dangerous crime suspects are in the wild, still evading security forces and prison guards, following a prison break at the Yaounde central prison in Kondengui recently, prison authorities say.
Officials identified the escapees, each by several aliases, as pre-trial detainees, including a murder suspect Erick Mbakop, also known as Armand Ngassa or Dimeko, held at the facility for several years.
Mbakop along with Stephane Mendomo (also Norbert Tchkibou) and Christian (Short) Kamdem broke free and managed to escape under circumstances that were still being investigated at night on 22 May.
Prison authorities, however, believe their point of departure was Quartier 2, an isolation section for sick inmates, where one of the three had been transferred. He was ill with tuberculosis.
Kondengui is notorious for prison breaks, blamed mostly on poor security infrastructure and an insufficient but overworked and underpaid guard force.
Warders have down tools at least once to demand reinforcement and to protest "poor and risky" working conditions. One inmate died during a warders’ protest in 2006.
There is also a long history of suspicion of the collaboration of poorly paid guards in escape plots against hung kick-backs. Some are so easy that suspicion of outside help becomes inevitable.
Prison administrator Francis Nkemanda was quoted saying that they were still investigating the 22 May incident, which as all other escapes, was least expected. He gave no further details.
Mbakop, one of the escapees, is the main suspect in the murder of a retired army colonel Petain Nnanga in Douala in 2006. Nnanga was shot by a group of men during an attack on a friend’s Ekoumdoum residence at about 7pm on 5 September 2006. He collapsed and died minutes after a fruitless attempt to chase and arrest his assailants.
Mbakop was arrested several weeks after and is to be tried for murder by the military tribunal in Yaounde. He faces a life jail.
With correspondence reports