Panic gripped a section of the Essequibo Coast last night when dozens of inmates broke out of the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) at Onderneeming and went on a rampage through several communities.
The inmates, both male and female, overpowered guards at the juvenile detention centre, even inflicting injuries, after breaking down doors and smashing windows in their frenzied bid to flee the facility, which normally has a population of over 200.
According to reports, one of the inmates managed to avoid lockdown yesterday evening and waited for the wardens to retire before shattering the locks of the various dormitories, letting his fellow inmates out.
A source said that from all appearances the breakout was well planned as all the inmates who were in six separate dormitories, simultaneously began freeing themselves.
One terrified staffer at the NOC told this newspaper that around 19:15 hours, he heard loud banging coming from the locked dorms, and he decided to investigate. However by the time he got close to the area that the noise was coming from, it was too late – the inmates had already broken free and came charging towards him.
The staff who is known in the NOC as ‘Sargie’ received a sound thrashing from the delinquent youths, some of whom stormed their way out of the compound.
A concerned resident of Onderneeming told this newspaper last night that the youths went to an abandoned property, and after arming themselves with paling staves which they ripped from the fence, they broke up into several gangs creating terror in the communities they traversed.
The resident believes that the rampaging mobs were trying to seek out specific wardens who reside in the nearby communities, since they were overheard planning attacks on persons whose names they shouted.
The resident however informed that the police were alerted and jeep loads of ranks were seen traversing the Essequibo Coast trying to round up the escapees.
Police spokesman Ivelaw Whittakker last night confirmed the breakout, indicating that the police were doing everything to ensure that calm prevails though the night.
“We don’t know how much of them managed to escape,” he said late last night.
“Right now they are doing a head count to ascertain the numbers.”
Whittaker said that all security personnel on the Essequibo Coast have been alerted.
“We have activated all the Neighbourhood Police and CPGs. Everybody has been mobilized,” Whittaker said.
Given the time of the breakout, police are almost certain that those who remain at large cannot leave the coast, and they have assured that they will intensify their efforts to recapture them today.
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