BAGHDAD: Eight out of 15 drug trafficking suspects have been recaptured after escaping custody in a Baghdad police station, Iraq’s interior ministry said, as the breakout prompted several dismissals.
“The search continues to find the others,” a police officer said, on condition of anonymity.
The 15 suspected members of a drug trafficking network escaped custody on Saturday, after having “insulted the police, then beaten them,” according to a security services official.
The interior ministry said eight had been recaptured without specifying where they were being held.
Baghdad’s police chief and the heads of Al-Russafa police department in the capital’s east and the station where the suspects pulled off their escape have all been fired, the ministry said.
On social media, images of videosurveillance purported to be from the police station shows men in civilian clothing running through a door, apparently without any resistance.
No one in uniform is visible in the footage.
Prison security is a critical issue in Iraq, where escapes are not uncommon, whether by violence or bribery.
Iraq is the 12th most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International, and experts have pointed to high levels of corruption in its prisons.
During the insurrection and sectarian violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion, hundreds of militants were able to escape from prison.
Iraq is currently seeking to try thousands of local and foreign jihadists, while keeping them in overcrowded prisons.
Many prisons have been rendered unusable by repeated conflicts.
The sale and use of drugs have been booming in Iraq. Authorities regularly announce the seizure of narcotics and the arrest of traffickers, particularly along the border with Iran.