TRIPOLI: Almost 200 Libyan prisoners have escaped from a jail in the southern town of Sabha in unclear circumstances, officials said yesterday.
“One hundred and ninety-seven prisoners escaped the prison of Sabha on Tuesday),” a member of the security services said on condition of anonymity.
“Judiciary police, who control the prison, facilitated the escape of the detainees, the majority of them common criminals,” said the source, a former rebel in Libya’s 2011 revolution.
Supporters of Muammer Gaddafi, the former dictator who was ousted and killed during last year’s armed uprising, were also among the detainees.
Suad Ganun, who represents Sabha in the national assembly, confirmed the escape of “250 prisoners,” blaming it on the failure of the authorities to address insecurity in the south.
“Members who represent southern cities have been boycotting the assembly’s plenary sessions since Tuesday in protest over deteriorating security in their region,” she added.
Ganun accused the authorities of ignoring the warnings of elected representatives, with Sabha’s jailbreak marking “the final straw”.
Sabha, a desert town about 800km south of Tripoli, had plunged into chaos due to rising crime, illegal immigration and drug trafficking, she said.
Libyan authorities have retaken control of several prisons previously in the hands of former rebels who fought to overthrow the Gaddafi regime.
But ex-rebels view the regular police force as incompetent, blaming it for the escape in October of 120 prisoners from a Tripoli jail that had recently come back under state control.
International watchdogs have regularly denounced human rights violations of leaders from the previous regime who are being held in prisons still under the control of former rebels.
Sudan’s army kills three Darfur rebels
KHARTOUM: Sudan’s army said yesterday it clashed with rebels in the country’s western Darfur region, killing three insurgents and frustrating an attempt to shell a regional capital. There was no immediate comment from the rebels, who took up arms against the central government in 2003.
While fighting in the region has subsided from its peak in 2003 and 2004, tribal violence, banditry and clashes between rebels and government forces have continued.
State radio said the army repulsed rebels outside El Fasher, capital of North Darfur state, which the insurgents have tried to shell several times in recent months. “The army frustrated an attempt by the Revolutionary Front to shell El Fasher,” it said in a text message