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20 Aug 2008 16:58
Nine inmates were electrocuted to death on Wednesday while trying to escape from one of Cameroon’s largest prisons, according to a staff member of the Justice Ministry.
Their bodies were found draped around the prison’s perimeter fence at about 5am, the staffer said. The electrocution set off a fire that burned about 20 other prisoners trapped in their cells.
Cameroon’s justice minister was heading to the prison in the commercial capital, Douala, said the staff member travelling with him.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The minister was expected to make a formal announcement later in the day.
Jail breaks are common in West Africa’s crumbling and overcrowded prisons, where inmates are often not given enough to eat.
The decrepit prison was built in the 1930s to hold about 800 inmates—but has at least twice that number.—Sapa-AP
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