Hundreds Escape Pakistan Jail

April 15, 2012 Updated: April 16, 2012

Around 400 prisoners escaped from prison in northwest Pakistan after it was attacked by Taliban militants, who had rocket-propelled grenades and guns, media reports said on Sunday.

The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), claimed responsibility for the jailbreak, a spokesperson, Asimullah Mehsud, told the Express Tribune newspaper. “The purpose was to free some of our men,” he said.

“We attacked with 150 Fidaeen (suicide bombers) and took over the area for more than two hours,” he added.

Around four police officers were injured in the attack and another policeman told the Tribune that dozens of Taliban militants in vehicles armed with heavy weapons stormed the gate of the prison. “The gate was rooted out after one fired a rocket at it,” the officer said.

Some of the militants who were freed in the assault are most-wanted criminals, a security official told the publication.

Minister for Information Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mian Iftikhar Hussain told the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) that the attack took place early in the morning, adding that at least 20 hardened criminals who were sentenced to death were freed.

Adnan Rashid, a prisoner who was allegedly involved in an assassination attempt against former President Pervez Musharraff, “also managed to escape during the four-hour gun battle,” the APP said.