An Overcrowded Cameroon prison has been razed down by fire. The maximum security prison in port city of Douala on Thursday was gutted by fire and lead to the hospitalization of three prisoners with serious burns– a local fire chief said.
Firefighters, backed by the police, were able to contain the blaze and stopped it from spreading beyond New Bell jail, which sits in a densely populated neighbourhood of the commercial capital, close to the central market.
Kadrey Abdie, fire brigade chief, said— “The operation was made more difficult by the layout and a large number of inmates’’.
Human rights groups say Cameroon’s prisons suffer from chronic overcrowding, poor sanitation conditions and disease while cases of violence and torture are frequent.
According to Amnesty International– New Bell prison was built in the 1930s for 800 inmates, but held around 2,500 as of 2011.
Abdiel added — The three severely burned prisoners were evacuated, while two firefighters were injured.
Crowds of onlookers had gathered outside the prison, where a large plume of dark smoke puffed from the roof.
Regional Governor, Samuel Ivaha Diboua, told journalists– A few inmates tried to climb over the prison’s walls, but the police around the perimeter stopped them from escaping, It was not immediately clear what started the fire.
What caused the fire is yet to be identified in the Overcrowded Cameroon prison.