Prison Chief Dies of Injuries After Jailbreak

The chief of CC3 prison, who was allegedly held hostage by in­mates during a bloody jailbreak last week, died Friday night in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City from bullet injuries, the prison’s Deputy Chief said Sunday.

Sun Bunna, 35, died after a fail­ed operation to remove a bullet from his head, said CC3 deputy chief Kea Sovanna.

Contrary to accounts given by of­­ficials and prison guards last week, Kea Sovanna said Sun Bun­na was struck by the bullet as guards shot and killed 17 escaping inmates with AK-47 assault rifles March 23 at the prison in Kom­pong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district.

On Thursday, Kea Sovanna and other officials said the prison chief had not been shot and suffered on­ly stab wounds inflicted by prisoners wielding knives and chisels.

Reports on the March 23 jailbreak have been murky as officials have given conflicting accounts of events surrounding the hostage taking and the shooting of the 17 prisoners and the prison’s chief.

Both reporters and human rights workers were denied ac­cess to the jail last week.

Asked about the inconsistencies, officials told reporters Sun­day that they needed approval from the Ministry of Interior be­fore they could release more in­for­ma­­tion.

“If you want to know thoroughly about this case, please get permission from the Ministry of Interior,” Deputy provincial police Chief Sao Sras said Sunday.

Sun Bunna’s body will be buried in Chi Mon village near CC3, Kea So­­vanna said, revising his earlier claim Sunday morning that the pri­son chief was scheduled to be cremated today.

The body was returned to Cam­bodia on Saturday afternoon, Kea Sovanna said.

A second official who was also reported seriously injured while taken hostage at CC3, Huy Tork, the deputy chief of the Interior Min­ister’s prison department, re­mained in a coma at a Vietnamese hospital, Kea Sovanna added. It is un­clear what type of injury Huy Tork is being treated for.

Police and prison guards have captured 17 inmates who escaped the CC3 compound during the in­cident, Kea Sovanna said. Four­teen others are still at large.

The bodies of the 17 inmates re­portedly killed on the day of the jail­break were swiftly buried in the prison compound, officials said last week.

Reporters were not permitted inside to verify the death toll, and human rights workers were de­nied access to injured prisoners.

The names of the dead prisoners have yet to be released.

Kea Sovanna said their identities would be broadcast on state-run TV but did not spe­cify when.

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