Depok (Indonesia) (AFP) – A hostage crisis involving Islamist prisoners at a high-security jail outside Jakarta has been resolved nearly two days after a deadly riot broke out at the prison, Indonesian officials said Thursday.
Hundreds of police and armoured vehicles were deployed to rescue a police officer taken hostage by inmates after chaos erupted late Tuesday at the facility inside the Mobile Police Brigade headquarters in Depok, leaving five officers and an inmate dead.
In the pre-dawn operation, 145 prisoners “surrendered unconditionally” and the hostage was released with no further casualties reported, said Chief Security Minister Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Another ten inmates holding out against police later surrendered after tear gas was used, according to Wiranto.
Several blasts heard near the prison on Thursday morning were caused by police destroying home-made bombs created by the prisoners, police said.
Rioting broke out after several prisoners demanded they be given food sent to them by their families and managed to grab some of their jailers’ firearms in the ensuing fracas.
Some of the inmates involved in the clashes were Islamist militants jailed on terror-related charges, according to police.
The Islamic State group was quick to claim responsibility for the riot through its Amaq News Agency, but authorities rejected that claim.
Among the facility’s prisoners is Aman Abdurrahman, an Islamic radical jailed for orchestrating an attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left eight people dead.
Former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was jailed for two years for blasphemy after losing a re-election bid, is also held in the jail.
Abdurrahman and Purnama, better known as Ahok, are not housed in the part of the prison where the riot broke out.
Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons are notorious for their poor conditions and outbreaks of violence.
Two years ago, nearly 500 inmates broke out from a prison after complaining about overcrowding and extortion.