COPENHAGEN: Denmark was on Wednesday (Oct 21) searching for answers after its most famous convict, submarine killer Peter Madsen, almost succeeded in escaping from a high-security prison.
Was it because he had an accomplice, as police suspect, or was it a fiasco in one of the world's most open penitentiary systems?
"This is a major failure," John Hatting, head of the Danish Prison and Probation Service workers' union, told AFP.
"That he was able … to hide a fake gun but also something as crazy as a fake bomb belt, that is absolutely unacceptable. It should not happen," he said.
Madsen, 49, is serving a life sentence for the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on board his homemade submarine as she interviewed him for a profile she was writing.
The gruesome killing made headlines around the world, gripping followers as it emerged that Madsen had chopped up her body into parts and thrown them into the Baltic Sea.
On Tuesday morning, Madsen managed to escape briefly from the Herstedvester Prison in Copenhagen after using his fake props to threaten prison staff and break his way out.
He stopped a passing van and forced the man behind the wheel to drive a few hundred metres before police cornered them.
After bomb experts determined that he was not in fact carrying explosives, police hauled him away.
Madsen appeared before a judge for a custody hearing on Wednesday where police told the judge they believed Madsen may have had accomplices, possibly providing him with the fake weapons or the material to make them.
"Someone may have helped (Madsen) with his escape, and that's what the next 14 days should allow us to shed light on," prosecutor Rasmus Kim Petersen told reporters after Madsen was ordered held in custody for two weeks.
Denmark, like its Nordic neighbours, prides itself on the humane conditions of its prisons.
But it also has one of Europe's highest rates of prison escapes, according to a 2018 Council of Europe report.
This is attributed to the fact that many inmates serve their sentences in so-called 'open' prisons, where they can be granted furlough for weekends, so they can for example return to their families, explained Linda Kjaer Minke, a sociologist and criminologist at Danish University of Southern Denmark.
In Madsen's case, "one could argue that this is a very special person with a special personality, and that guards in general should be more attentive to his creative project in general."
Held in a high-security 'closed' prison, Madsen enjoyed – despite the grisly nature of his crime – the same conditions as other inmates at the facility.
They include physical treatments, exercise, education, a library, workshop and a grocery shop wheRead More – Source
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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