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Mogadishu Foils Al Shabaab Prison Break

Officials in Somalia now say 19 people are known to have died during a shoot-out inside the capital Mogadishu’s main prison. Correctional Services Spokesman Abdiqani Mohamed Khalaf said on state TV that 15 prisoners were killed, and four wardens. Another eight people were injured, he said. There were conflicting reports of how the prisoners, all said to be members of the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab, got hold of the weapons. The gunfire started in the section where inmates serving a life sentence are held, according to the official. The security official said it is believed the weapons were hidden in food and other items smuggled into the prison when inmates receive visits twice a week. An inmate held in a different part of the prison who was interviewed by a local radio said the shooting started during change of shift by the guards. The central prison is located next to Mogadishu’s seaport and is heavily guarded. Dozens of al-Shabab inmates are held at the facility, including some who are on death row.