INDONESIA – More than half of the inmates released from a jail in Aceh had failed to return as promised in the wake of the giant earthquakes that struck the Indonesian province on Wednesday, a report said on Thursday.
Officers of a prison in Pidie, Aceh, released its 62 prisoners because of fears of an imminent tsunami. On Thursday, however, only 28 of the convicted criminals had returned.
“They didn’t break out, but were released. It was because there were people shouting about rising [sea level],” Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo told detik.com on Thursday.
The chief of Pidie Police precinct, Adj. Sr. Comr. Dumadi, meanwhile, said the Sigli penitentiary hosted a total of 62 prisoners.
He said many of them were still traumatized by the 2004 massive tsunami that claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people in Aceh, and prison officers released them so that they could save their lives.
They immediately ran toward higher grounds when released.
The 62 prisoners have been convicted of different crimes, including murder and drug dealing.
As of midday of Thursday, only 28 had returned, while the whereabouts of 34 others was unknown.
“But, some of them have called and said they will be back,” Dumadi said.
He added police were now contacting family members of the prisoners, as well as visiting their homes, hoping to find them and escort them back to the prison.