Indonesian prisoners protesting conditions at an overcrowded Sumatra Island prison set fire to Wednesday’s jail, prompting officials to deploy about 500 police and soldiers in response.
The riot at Kabanjahe prison erupted after those imprisoned there became angry with the care of four prisoners who were put in solitary confinement after being caught taking drugs into their cell, Sri Puguh Budi Utami, Director-General of Justice and Human Rights Ministry Corrections, told the Associated Press.
The jail is designed to house 193 prisoners but now has over 400 — and only eight guards are staffed.
Other prisoners, mostly arrested for drug offenses, joined the protest and it turned violent but there were no death reports, Utami said.
Television video showed inmates under heavy guard by soldiers in an open field as police removed others from the prison complex. Black smoke billowed from a jail, burning office equipment and scattering papers around the facility.
Local police chief Benny Hutajulu said eight fire trucks had been mobilized to extinguish the fire, and about 500 police and soldiers had been deployed around the prison to prevent prisoners from escaping.
Jailbreaks and protests are frequent in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a concern in jails dealing with inadequate resources and large numbers of people detained in a fight on illegal drugs.