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Pakistan Suspends Top Officials After Prison Attack

In a damage control exercise, Pakistan on Monday suspended Inspector-General (Prisons) and Police Commissioner of Bannu after militants stormed a prison and freed hundreds of inmates in the country's north-west.

They were suspended from service after a preliminary inquiry pointed out intelligence failure.

The probe report said 150 Islamist militants on 50 vehicles entered the Central Prison in Bannu, a town in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and stormed the jail for two hours on Saturday night. It said 378 prisoners who fled the jail include 269 convicted and 89 accused inmates. Five women prisoners also escaped.

The report noted that 30 policemen including ten armed personnel were present while 63 were absent from the duty at the time of the attack.

It said mobile phones were also being used by inmates without any check by the jail authorities.

The escaped prisoners include Adnan Rashid, alleged mastermind of an attack on former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, and a Taliban commander identified as Nooruddin, Pak media reported.

Storming of the prison was considered to be a setback for the Pak military, which had gained upper hand in its fight against militants in recent months. Authorities say such attacks are in retaliation to the ongoing Pakistani military offensive in the volatile tribal belt.

by RTT Staff Writer

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