3 dead in Afghan prison riot, hostage standoff

AP News
Posted: Mar 08, 2015 9:16 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Inmates in northern Afghanistan killed two police officers they had taken hostage on Sunday during a prison riot in which an inmate was shot dead, an Afghan security official said.

The riot erupted during a search for cellphones, knives and other contraband, said Gen. Faqir Mohammad Jawzjani, the police chief of northern Jawzjan province. Five officers and 10 inmates were wounded in the melee.

The inmates managed to take two police officers and a criminal investigator hostage. They later killed the two officers and set the investigator on fire, thinking he was a prosecutor. He survived but is in critical condition, Jawzjani said, adding that local officials were trying to negotiate an end to the standoff.

The prison complex, located in the provincial capital Shebirghan, holds some 800 inmates in separate male and female lockups. Its prisoners are from both Jawzjan and neighboring Sari Pul province.

Around 300 inmates were transferred from Sari Pul two years ago after Taliban insurgents attacked the facility where they were being held. Jawzjani said those prisoners were responsible for the violence.

Meanwhile in eastern Nangarhar province, heavy rain caused a roof to collapse in Dare Noor district, killing at least 10 members of a single family, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial governor's spokesman. Most houses in remote regions of Afghanistan are made of mud bricks, which weaken during heavy rain and snow every winter.

Much of the country has been hit by severe weather in recent weeks, with almost 200 people killed in a massive avalanche in the northeastern Panjshir province.