Three cell blocks were compromised, more than 50 prisoners broke out of their cells


The Ministry of Police and Prisons have confirmed that three cell blocks were compromised and prisoners were able to escape from within their cells, but they did not manage to leave the Tanumalala Prison compound.

Each cell block, houses up to 50 prisoners, with several guards stationed outside each of the blocks.

This was confirmed by Deputy Police Commissioner Auapa’au Logoitino Filipo in response to questions from Radio Polynesia.

Over 60 Police Officers responded to the call for assistance from the Prison, close to 12 pm.

Auapa’au said the Police have launched an investigation as to how the prisoners were able to “break out” of their prison cells when there are two metal doors that require a key to unlock them.

“Within an hour upon arrival of Police in full gear at the Tanumalala Prison, everything was under control and the inmates were taken back into their cells while they conducted a headcount.

“And all the prisoners were accounted for,” explained Auapa’au. He said there were over 60 Corrections Officers on duty at the Prison when the incident occurred.

The Deputy Police Commissioner said over 50 prisoners broke out of their cells, while some inmates remain inside the jail cells.

As reported earlier the Minister of Police and Prisons, Faualo Harry Schuster says the prisoners attempts to escape the Prison but failed.

The Tanumalala prison has an anti-climb gate just outside their blocks with another main gate that surrounds the entire compound.

Its been over a month since the prisoners were allowed any visitors due to the State of Emergency lockdown.

The last mass prison break was in 2020 when 29 prisoners escaped, this led to the previous Administration merging the Prisons and Correction Services back under the umbrella of the Ministry of Police.