NEWS

Botched Congo prison break explosion kills 11

01/01/2012 05:58 EST | Updated 03/02/2012 05:12 EST

A botched jail break involving a hand grenade in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed 11 inmates and hurt dozens of others, police officials said Sunday.

The deadly incident at Bukavu Central prison in eastern Congo injured at least 48 people when a prisoner, intending to use the explosive to blow open the gates to escape, held onto it for too long, officials said.

The grenade instead detonated in the prisoner's hands after he pulled the pin around 8 a.m. Sunday.

Gaston Luzembo, a provincial police commissioner, told the Reuters news agency that an inmate named Gwigwi passed the weapon to another prisoner with instructions to use it to blast the prison gates open.

"He did not know how to use a grenade and instead he just held it and it went off, killing and injuring other prisoners," Luzembo said.

The man holding the grenade was taken to hospital with serious injuries, he added.

Following the blast, televised images showed bloodied men being taken to ambulances.

The notorious and overcrowded Bukavu Central prison is a pre-colonial compound. Most of the inmates are serving time for violent crimes.

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