A riot has broken out at a prison in west-central France after a group of inmates managed to steal the keys of a warden and free scores of their fellows from the cells.
The incident occurred at the ultra-modern Vivonne prison in the French town of Poitiers at 5:00 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Monday, according to officials at the facility.
“Two prisoners jostled a guard and managed to steal his keys, which allowed them to open all the cells,” union official Emmanuel Giraud said.
One of the prison’s buildings was set ablaze by the prisoners who “broke everything,” Giraud added.
Riot police and fire-fighters are seen at the entrance of the Vivonne prison following a mutiny by inmates near Poitiers, France, September 12, 2016. ©AFP
Six detainees and five guards were taken to the hospital after suffering smoke inhalation.
The firefighters later managed to extinguish the flames, which spread through a floor of the three-story building.
A prison source said the rebellion erupted after an inmate was denied parole, and encouraged his fellows to rebel with him.
Order was restored to the prison, which has a capacity for 578 inmates, after a five-hour standoff, the Justice Ministry reported.
However, reports say some 60 prisoners had refused to return to their cells following the unrest.