Over 1,000 Detainees Escape During Jailbreak in Benghazi
More than 1,000 detainees escaped from a prison near the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in a massive jailbreak Saturday, officials said, as protesters stormed political party offices in Libya’s main cities.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the jailbreak at the al-Kweifiya prison came as part of the demonstrations. Protesters had massed across the country angry over the killing of an activist critical of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood group.
Gunmen outside of the prison fired into the air as inmates inside began setting fires, suggesting the jailbreak was preplanned, a Benghazi-based security official said. Those who escaped either face or were convicted of serious charges, a security official at al-Kweifiya prison said.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.
Special forces later arrested 18 of the escapees, while some returned on their own, said Mohammed Hejazi, a government security official in Benghazi. Three inmates were wounded in the jailbreak and were taken to a local hospital, he said.
There also was confusion initially about how many prisoners broke out, with numbers of escapees ranging as high as 1,200.