Beni prison: MONUSCO teaches staff to deal with mutinies and escape attempts

During the training, the 15 police officers and guards learned how to intervene in the event of a mutiny in the prison. Photos MONUSCO / Joel Bofengo

21 May 2022

Beni prison: MONUSCO teaches staff to deal with mutinies and escape attempts

Joel Bofengo

In recent years, the central prison of Beni has experienced escapes as well as threats of attack by armed groups. On Thursday 19 May, staff members of this prison completed a five-day training course initiated by MONUSCO's Prison Administration Support Unit. They learned the appropriate actions and behaviour to adopt, particularly in the event of a mutiny or attempted escape.

At the end of the training, the urban commander of the national police intervention legion insisted on practice. Senior Superintendent Justin Nyembo told the fifteen police officers and supervisors present that they must apply what they have learned in their daily work.

During the training, they learned, among other things, how to intervene in case of a mutiny in the prison. They also rehearsed the appropriate gestures to control a violent prisoner, while respecting his integrity and his rights.

Senior Chief Superintendent Justin Nyembo joined the group of learners to participate in an exfiltration simulation. "We taught them the different methods, tactics and techniques of intervention in case of need. There, you saw us carry out a penetration and an intervention to be able to control the leader of an uprising in the prison," explains the Congolese police officer. 

During the theoretical sessions of the training, the fifteen members of the prison staff also learnt about prison regulations as well as notions of respect for human rights in the prison environment.

The director of the prison, Tsongo Makelele, is pleased that the staff is trained to be able to react adequately in any situation. "Sometimes there are prisoner uprisings, escape attempts and mutiny. Staff have been trained to deal with such situations," notes Tsongo Makelele. 

Senior Deputy Commissioner Elysée Ekame, one of the four women who took part in the training, says that learning these techniques is "crucial". She is one of the police officers who provide security at the prison, which has many inmates considered dangerous.