While much of the nation watched Comoros’ footballers beat Kenya in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, 54 inmates took the opportunity to break free from the Moroni prison at around 19:00 local time (16:00 GMT).
Among the escapees, who are not considered dangerous criminals, 13 have so far been arrested. But the most wanted – Inssa Mohamed, alias Bobocha – has not yet been found. He was in pre-trial detention for allegedly taking part in an attempted attack on Comoros President Azali Assoumani in April.
Extradited from Madagascar last July, Mr Mohamed’s trial was set to take place this month before the State Security Court.
This massive escape is the third in a few weeks. The operation on 15 November was the most dramatic – an entire section of the wall of one of the dormitories was demolished.
Prisoners used the rubble as projectiles against the guards, resulting in nine wounded.
“Of the nine security guards, four went to El-Maarouf [Hospital] for treatment and five were treated in the prison infirmary,” said Justice Minister Mohamed Houssein Djamalilayl. He says he went to the prison yesterday at dawn.