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Two killed as nearly 1,000 prisoners escape DR Congo jail

Masked gunmen reportedly attacked the prison in Lubumbashi city, freeing 967 prisoners including a former commander of the Mai Mai militia movement.

Drc prison 09 07 2011Enlarge
A prisoner stands in an alley of the Bunia Prison March 30, 2006 in Bunia, Congo. The prison, which houses mainly former FARDC (Forces Armees de la Republique Democratique du Congo) soldiers, the national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have either mutinied or joined various militias, is overcrowded with poor living conditions. Africa has some of the worst prison facilities in the world, with overcrowding, prisoner abuse and malnutrition a growing problem, according to reports. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Nearly 1,000 prisoners, including a former militia leader, have escaped from a jail in the southeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a raid by armed men wearing masks.

The attack on the prison in Lubumbashi city was aimed at freeing a militia leader, Gedeon Kyungu Mutanga, who had been sentenced to death, Katanga province Information Minister Dkianga Kazadi told Agence France-Presse.

Eight masked gunmen entered the prison and opened fire on prison guards and police, killing two people, Kazadi told AFP. The dead were a police officer and a young man visiting his brother in jail, the Associated Press says.

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Kazadi said police had recaptured 152 of the 967 prisoners who had escaped in the massive jailbreak.

The BBC reports that Mutanga, a former commander of the Mai Mai militia movement,had escaped in the Lubumbashi prison raid. Mutanga, known as "Commander Gedeon," was sentenced to death in 2009 for his crimes, AFP says.

Prison breaks are not uncommon in the DRC. Nearly 200 prisoners escaped from a jail in the country's northwest last year.

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