SUVA, Fiji — Soldiers searched the island of Fiji today for more than 100 dangerous prisoners who escaped from a burning prison in the largest breakout in the nation's history, officials said.
In a nationwide broadcast, Col. Sitiveni Rabuka, commander of Fiji's security forces, told the 64,000 people of Suva and the surrounding areas to keep indoors for their security and safety.
The Fiji Sun newspaper said that 114 prisoners escaped from the prison at Naboro, nine miles west of Suva, and that none of the prisoners had immediately been recaptured.
Rabuka said the escaped prisoners were armed with spades, garden forks and knives and said they were extremely dangerous.
Officials said convicts set fire to the medium-security section of the prison and the ensuing blaze completely razed the building. They said the prisoners made their escape after firefighters left the prison's gates open while trying to fight the inferno.