TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) – Two inmates were killed and 14 people were wounded in a prison riot Sunday in Tikrit, the home city of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a police source said.
Seven policemen and seven inmates were among the wounded in the riot, at the central prison for Salahuddin province, said the police source, under condition he not be named. Tikrit, 150 km (95 miles) north ofBaghdad is the province’s capital.
“We have negotiated with the inmates to evacuate the prison because the building is no longer usable. We are transferring the prisoners in groups of ten to a prison at one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces,” the source said.
The provincial governor, Ahmed al-Jubouri, told al-Hurra Arabic-language satellite TV the prisoners had been planning a breakout and had begun rioting when inspectors discovered that they had sabotaged doors to make their escape.
“After the discovery of the broken doors, riots broke out inside the prison,” the governor said. “They started burning the blankets and mattress, trying to create the opportunity to escape.”
He said the situation was under control and denied that any prisoners had died. A curfew had been imposed on the city because of reports that bombs were going to be brought there as part of the escape plot, he said.
A Reuters correspondent at the scene said a large number of personnel from Iraqi security forces had surrounded the prison.
(Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee; Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Matthew Jones)
Image of Saddam Hussein’s former presidential palace in Tikrit via WikiMedia Commons.