Gang leader escapes during prison riot in Haiti

February 25, 2021 10:29 PM EST

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PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - One of Haiti's most powerful gang leaders, Arnel Joseph, escaped from a prison in the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince during a riot on Thursday that left seven prisoners and a police officer dead, authorities told local media.

The spokesman for the national police, Gary Desrosiers, told Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste that about 40 prisoners were apprehended after the riot at the Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Prison. It is not known how many prisoners escaped.

Before his arrest, Joseph was the most-wanted gang leader in Haiti.

Haiti's prime minister, Joseph Jouthe, told Le Nouvelliste that authorities have retaken control of the prison, which was also the site of a major prison break in 2014, during which hundreds of prisoners escaped.

(Reporting by Andre Paultre in Port-au-Prince, writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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