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Prison Guard, Six Inmates Die In Failed Escape Attempt In Kazakhstan


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Kazakh officials say convicts have killed a prison guard and wounded several servicemen in a firefight during a failed attempt to escape from a penal colony that ultimately killed at least six inmates.

The penitentiary branch of the Justice Ministry said security forces foiled an attempted overnight jailbreak through the fence of the penal colony in Balkhash, a town some 600 kilometers north of Almaty.

Interfax news agency reported that a group of 16 convicts described as "members of an organized crime group" were behind the escape attempt.

An Interior Ministry statement said that during the security forces' response, six inmates died when a homemade bomb intended to blast a hole in the prison's exterior wall detonated.

Troops were said to have regained control of most of the facility, although an unknown number of inmates were resisting them from barricaded buildings.

The incident comes after police said during the weekend that they had killed nine people suspected of carrying out attacks on security forces in a remote western region.

Four officers have also died in three separate gun attacks in the Aktobe region since June 30, less than two months after a suicide bomber blew himself up in the offices of the state security offices in the regional capital.

compiled from agency reports