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14 June 2008 - Media release

INTERPOL issues global alert following mass prison escape in Afghanistan

LYON, France – An international alert has been issued by INTERPOL following the escape of nearly 900 prisoners, including convicted terrorists, from a jail in southern Afghanistan.

INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Kabul confirmed the breakout occurred after an attack was launched on Sarposa, Kandahar’s main jail, on Friday 13 June in which several soldiers were killed and police officers injured.

Law enforcement officers in Afghanistan are now compiling full details of the escapees which INTERPOL’s Command and Co-ordination Centre at the General Secretariat in Lyon, France can then circulate to all 186 member countries via I-24/7, INTERPOL’s secure global police communications system.

“This attack was clearly well planned and led to the escape of many extremely dangerous criminals and terrorists. The response from law enforcement worldwide will be equally as comprehensive to ensure that these fugitives are captured as swiftly as possible,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin.

“Officers in our Fugitive Investigative Service and Command and Co-ordination Centre are now liaising closely with the National Central Bureau in Kabul to ensure that all identifying information on the escapees, such as photographs and fingerprints, are circulated quickly and securely to law enforcement officers worldwide.”

Mr Louboutin also praised the fast provision of information by NCB Kabul following the breakout and their continued efforts to gather and circulate the prisoners’ details to assist in their capture.

In 2006, INTERPOL’s General Assembly adopted a resolution underlining the need for member countries to alert the General Secretariat to prison escapes of suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals.