Police in Haiti say 34 inmates make overnight escape from prison north of capital; 4 captured

Nearly three dozen prisoners awaiting trial in a crowded jail in a provincial city north of the Haitian escaped by sawing through steel bars, authorities said Monday.

Thirty-four prisoners crawled through the window at the jail in Saint Marc and fled into the darkness, according to officials with the Haitian National Police.

Saint Marc Police Commissioner Berson Soljour said four of the men had been recaptured, but the rest remained at large. He said all of those who escaped had been awaiting trial, including one facing a murder charge.

All five guards who were on overnight duty at the jail have been detained on suspicion of aiding the escape, Soljour said.

Saint Marc is a port city about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of the capital and is the largest city between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien. Police were circulating photos of the men throughout the central Artibonite region.

Haitian prisons are notoriously overcrowded and rife with problems, with many inmates spending years in pre-trial detention. There were nearly 500 prisoners inside the jail in Saint Marc at the time of the escape.

About 330 prisoners, including many both charged and convicted of serious crimes, escaped in August from a prison in Croix-des-Bouquets using weapons apparently smuggled in by guards. Most have not been recaptured.