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AFP: Bahrain Jailbreak Sparks Manhunt

2016-06-04 - 6:30 p

Bahrain Mirror (AFP): Bahraini security forces launched a manhunt Saturday after a reported 20 prisoners broke out of a jail on the island of Muharraq, site of the Gulf state's main airport.

There was no immediate word on whether the prisoners were common criminals or political activists jailed in a sweeping five-year-old crackdown on dissent among the kingdom's Shiite majority.

The interior ministry said police had recaptured some of the fugitives but gave no details on how many remained at large.

It said the breakout happened at the Al-Hadd detention center near the Muharraq dry dock Friday evening.

Bahrain's Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper said around 20 prisoners had escaped.

"They managed to seize a bus and get away after assaulting warders and police and wounding several of them," the paper said.

Police set up roadblocks on the causeways linking Muharraq to Bahrain's main island, where the capital Manama is located, the paper added.

The tiny but strategic Gulf state has been shaken by unrest since its Sunni minority rulers crushed a month-long, Shiite-led uprising demanding reforms in 2011.

Despite the crackdown, protesters still frequently clash with police in Shiite villages outside the capital Manama.

The kingdom, which is connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway, lies across the Gulf from Shiite Iran and is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.





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