News / Middle East

About 100 of 1,100 Prisoners Recaptured After Libyan Jail Break

Prisoners are seen behind bars in a Benghazi jail in this February 22, 2012, file photo.Prisoners are seen behind bars in a Benghazi jail in this February 22, 2012, file photo.
x
Prisoners are seen behind bars in a Benghazi jail in this February 22, 2012, file photo.
Prisoners are seen behind bars in a Benghazi jail in this February 22, 2012, file photo.
Reuters
Some 100 inmates out of more than 1,100 who escaped during a prison riot in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi have been recaptured, a security official said on Sunday.

Armed violence and lawlessness, caused in part by militia groups who often do as they please, has hobbled governance in wide areas of the oil-producing North African state following the 2011 war that toppled Moammar Gadhafi.

About 1,117 inmates on Saturday broke out of the Kuafiya prison on the outskirts of the city, the cradle of the 2011 uprising that has now become a hot spot for violence.

Officials said there had been an attack on the facility from the outside, as well as a riot inside.

Escapees on run

Mohammed Sharif, head of security in Benghazi, said some prisoners had turned themselves in and others had been captured.

“The prison is back in operation as of this morning,” he told Reuters. “Seventy prisoners were brought in initially. Another 30 were caught in the town of al-Marj and seven in Ajdabiyah. They will be brought back to Kuafiya,” he said, referring to towns in eastern Libya.

Officials said the escapees included criminals from other African states.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan confirmed the incident but gave no numbers. He said residents had carried out the attack because they did not want the jail near their homes.

Benghazi has seen a wave of violence since last year, with numerous attacks on security forces, as well as foreign targets, including the assault on the U.S. mission last September in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

External attacks, riots inside

Saturday's jail break came as hundreds of protesters attacked the Benghazi and Tripoli offices of Libya's Muslim Brotherhood and the headquarters of a liberal coalition in the capital after demonstrations sparked by assassinations in Benghazi turned violent late on Friday.

Hundreds of people took to the streets to denounce the killing of a prominent political activist and critic of the Brotherhood, Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was shot dead after leaving a mosque following Friday prayers.

Mosmary was an outspoken opponent of the Brotherhood, whose Islamist political wing is the second biggest party in the national congress, and regularly appeared on television criticizing the presence of armed militias on Libya's streets. Two military officials were also killed Friday in Benghazi.

Zeidan said he would reshuffle his cabinet and reorganize the government to cope with the “urgent” situation in the country.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid