Inmates injured in Free State prison riot


Around 50 inmates of the Groenpunt prison in Deneysville suffered minor injuries in a stampede when police entered the facility after a riot.

Prisoners refused to eat and started setting fires at Groenpunt prison in Deneysville. (AFP)

A riot broke had broken out at around 4pm on Monday when prisoners refused to eat and started setting fires.

Police spokesperson Constable Peter Kareli told Sapa at daybreak the situation was peaceful. "We are now going back to assess the damage and investigate what led to the unrest," he told Sapa on Tuesday morning.

He said five prison staff suffered minor injuries. SABC radio news, which put the staff injury toll at nine, reported that the riot had happened at the maximum security section when some 227 inmates barricaded their unit to prevent officials from entering.

Police re-inforcements from Vereeniging, Sasolburg and Welkom were called in and stun grenades were used to enable them to gain entry, according the report.

It was further reported that files of prisoners had been damaged in fires set to part of the administration buildings, which could delay the release of some inmates.

Cells had also been set alight and the electricity cut off.

Prisoners had made weapons from shower heads and steel rods. They had also aired their grievances to a local radio station after getting hold of cell phones.

Criminal charges would be laid against prisoners who had been involved in the riot, the radio reported the department of correctional services as saying. – Sapa

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