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Inmates Walk Out the Front Gate

November 9, 1998

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ When more than 100 prisoners escaped from an Indonesian jail over the weekend, they did it the easy way. They walked out the front gate.

Security guards apparently forgot to lock the doors after visiting hours for inmates’ families ended Sunday, the newspaper Kompas quoted the military as saying.

In all, 106 prisoners fled Merdeka Penitentiary in Palembang on Sumatra Island and police have only recaptured three of the fugitives.

Ironically, ``Merdeka″ means ``freedom″ in Indonesia.

The breakout occurred while guards were changing shifts, Kompas quoted Brig. Gen. Pandji Atmasudirdja, the regional police chief, as saying. The city, a center of the oil industry, is 285 miles northwest of Jakarta, the capital.

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