Pris­on­ers freed by Irma re­cap­tured

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

More than 100 pris­on­ers have been cap­tured af­ter es­cap­ing from a jail on the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma.

The gov­er­nor of the is­lands said the pris­on­ers of Bal­sam Ghut prison, in Tor­tola, had been cap­tured on Thurs­day.

It fol­lowed an op­er­a­tion by Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­land and Cay­man Is­land po­lice of­fi­cers, along­side the Bri­tish Royal Marines and po­lice.

Gus Jaspert, the gov­er­nor of the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, said: “The gov­ern­ment of the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands is ex­tremely grate­ful to the po­lice and mil­i­tary per­son­nel for their tire­less ef­forts, which have re­sulted in a thor­ough and ex­tremely suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion.

“I ex­tend our grat­i­tude to the UK and Cay­man Is­land gov­ern­ments for their pro­vi­sion of per­son­nel. This sig­nals a huge step in all of our ef­forts to re­build this fan­tas­tic ter­ri­tory.”

The news comes af­ter Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lan­ders said they were “ter­ri­fied” of the pris­on­ers, who es­caped be­cause of the dam­age caused by Irma.

They said loot­ing had been “ter­ri­ble” and claimed es­caped pris­on­ers had com­mit­ted a rape while on the loose.

For­eign min­is­ter Sir Alan Dun­can said on Tues­day that the con­victs posed a “se­ri­ous threat of the com­plete break­down of law and or­der”. About 240,000 chil­dren have fled Myan­mar’s Rakhine state into neigh­bour­ing Bangladesh over the last three weeks, ac­cord­ing to a UN agency.

The fig­ure – amount­ing to 60% of an es­ti­mated 391,000 Ro­hingya refugees – in­cludes about 36,000 chil­dren un­der a year old, said Unicef spokes­woman Mar­ixie Mer­cado.

Ms Mer­cado said the fig­ures in­clude about 1,100 un­ac­com­pa­nied minors who crossed over the past week.

She spoke at a reg­u­lar brief­ing in Geneva that in­cluded com­ments from many UN agen­cies ad­dress­ing the cri­sis in Bangladesh.

Ms Mer­cado said: “As ev­ery­body here is go­ing to tell you, the needs are seem­ingly end­less and the suf­fer­ing is deep­en­ing.”

A Ro­hingya in­sur­gent group at­tacked po­lice posts in Rakhine on Au­gust 25, and the mil­tary of Myan­mar – also known as Burma – re­sponded with “clear­ance op­er­a­tions”.

Flee­ing Ro­hingya say se­cu­rity forces shot in­dis­crim­i­nately.

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