Foreign inmates evacuated from Bali prison as tensions simmer

The Indonesian military has evacuted foreign and female prisoners from Kerobokan prison on the resort island of Bali, which is currently under the control of rioting inmates, Sky News is reporting.

The unrest began on Tuesday night, when a group of inmates weilding sticks and bricks chased guards from the jail.  They set parts of the building on fire and hurled rocks and flaming missiles into the courtyard. 

Riot police moved in at dawn to restore order, but by Wednesday night the inmates had regained control of the facility. 

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On Thursday, AFP reported that prison authorities were planning to evacuate the 60 foreign inmates, as well as the 125 female detainees.

"We will evacuate the foreign and female prisoners," provincial military command spokesman Wing Handoko is quoted as saying.

He added that the army was planning to storm the facility, but would not do so until after the evacuation "as we fear that their lives will be put at risk."

The Australian newspaper said that buses would take prisoners from Keroboken to a detention facility at Klungkung, about two hours away.

The Brisbane Times quotes other sources as suggesting that most of the prison's 1,015 inmates will be moved by military aircraft to another location in Indonesia, mostly likely Surabaya on the island of Java.  

The newspaper says that a barbed wire fence had been taken down and that the power supply had been cut, meaning the prison could not longer be secured. 

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 "Prison staff are afraid to enter because we are worried that a bigger riot will erupt," one prison worker calling himself Aryawan told AFP.  "This is a mass protest, the biggest over the last five years I've worked here."

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