MADRID – Two IE students, Federika Uhthoff and Maile McFarland came across a police operation to stop an inmate mutiny at the Immigration Center at the Aluche station in Madrid (Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros de Aluche) while on their way for NIE appointments on Thursday, Oct.17th. Both shocked, immediately left at the orders of the police, which was able to contain the mutiny successfully. 

As El Confidencial reported, at approximately 3:30pm about five police vans and a helicopter arrived at the scene to contain an attempted prison break by inmates to escape the detention center. The students who were on the way to submit their NIE documents, arrived at 4:00pm for an appointment half an hour later, quickly followed the orders and left the center during the lockdown. 

“A friend and I were arriving for our NIE appointment when we heard screams and banging coming from inside the Comisaría. Then about 5 police vans showed up with policemen coming out of them in full battle gear (shields and helmets to match) and began running towards the building,” stated Federika, a 2nd year, BIR student from Mexico. “As for the rest of us, there were policemen shouting for us to leave the premises as they put the building into lockdown. We saw the men running around the roof and the policemen running up and down the streets looking for them [the escaped prisoners].” 

For reasons that are currently unknown, a group of inmates had mutinied around 3:30 pm in various areas of the building. The rapid intervention of the Prevention and Reaction Units (UPR), Citizen Security and aerial media, which have flown over the area, has managed to control what happened, reports El Confidencial. 


When we were walking away, inmates from inside the Comisaría began shouting things at us like “esa rubia”, “miralas caminar”, which did not help my nerves at all,” describes Federika, “After getting away from the zone, and after calling our parents, we called Student Services to let them know of the situation.” 

The Student Services obliges non-EU students to submit and process their documents at the Immigration Center at Aluche to register their student residence in Spain. Despite the stressful and shocking scenes, the students were required to return as soon as possible to complete their procedure.

“Being from Mexico where things like that mostly mean a mass shooting or something was happening, my mind went to the worst possible scenario right away. Then I saw the armed guards begin arriving and the men running around the roof and all I wanted was to get out of there,” commented Federika.

The Immigration Detention Center, locally described as “Spanish Guantanamo Bay”, had a similar situation on September 10th, when 10 inmates were able to escape the premises, with only 3 caught by the police. 

Featured image by El Informacion.