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Zimbabwe inmates set prison on fire in protest over poor food

A group of prisoners on Friday set fire to part of a maximum security prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, in protest at the food they had been served, according to a report.

ZBC radio reported that preliminary investigations revealed that the fire might have been started by a group of five inmates who set several blankets ablaze at the maximum correctional facility on the outskirts of Harare, according to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

The fire brigade was called in to put out the fire, which had spread to a staircase.

Prison officers reportedly combed the prison in the wake of the blaze.

According to unconfirmed reports the fire was part of an attempted jail-break.

Sources reportedly said there had been a number of arrests.

It was believed that none of the prisoners escaped from the jail.

Prison officers said they heard some of the inmates urging their colleagues not to eat their meal, protesting that the relish was not good enough, ZBC reported.

Investigations were still underway.

 

ZIMBABWE PRISONER KILLED IN RIOT “NOT SHOT”: OFFICIAL – Sapa

The prisoner who died in a riot over poor food at a maximum security prison in Harare was not shot but crushed in a stampede, the official Herald said Saturday.

“Unfortunately one prisoner died. He was caught up in the stampede and he wasn’t shot,” Elizabeth Banda-Karinda, a spokesperson for the state prison services told the paper.

Eleven people, eight of them prisoners, are now known to have been seriously injured in the three-hour long riot Friday at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison on the outskirts of the Zimbabwean capital.

There are reports of other less serious injuries.

Reports earlier said that police were forced to open fire on the prisoners, although the prison spokesperson claimed the ammunition used was blank.

Banda-Karinda said the prisoners did not like the vegetables they were being served along with their sadza porridge, according to the Herald.

The paper, seen as the voice of President Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government, said a “large number” of inmates were suffering from scurvy and pellagra, both linked to bad diet.

Some prisoners at Chikurubi tried to go on a hunger strike two weeks ago over the lack of food.

The seriously injured prisoners are being treated in hospital.

A commentator calling himself Zvakaoma wrote online: “They have the full right to protest. There are no blankets, no water and nothing at all.”

 

THREE WARDERS INJURED IN ZIM PRISON RIOT – Sapa

Three prison warders were injured on Friday after prisoners set fire to part a maximum security jail in Harare, apparently over the quality of their food, state radio reported.

The officers at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison were injured by asbestos flung at them by inmates after a group of prisoners set fire to their blankets.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire might have been started by a group of five inmates who set several blankets ablaze at the maximum correctional facility on the outskirts of Harare,” the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) said.

The fire brigade was called in to put out the fire, which had spread to a staircase.

ZBC’s acting editor-in-chief Chris Chivinge tweeted that several inmates had been arrested.

Chivinge said the rioting was put down “without much incident”.

According to unconfirmed reports, the fire was part of an attempted jail-break.

Chivinge said there were no reports of any prisoners escaping.

“Prison officers said they heard some of the inmates urging their colleagues not to eat their meal, protesting that the relish was not good enough,” ZBC’s Power FM reported.

Investigations were still underway.

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