Benghazi, 29 July 2013:
More than 1,000 convicted criminals remain at large in Libya, following the mass jailbreak from Kuwafiyah . . .[restrict]prison in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The spokesman for the Benghazi Joint Security Room, Mohamed Hejazi, told the Libya Herald last night that only a few of the escaped convicts had been recaptured.
“The teams of the Special Forces are still searching for escapees,” he said. He added, however, that a number of prisoners had voluntarily turned themselves over to the police. Some of these did so, he said, because they were charged with murder and their families feared reprisal killings.
There have also been reports that convicts who were serving short sentences for minor offences have also handed themselves in.
Hejazi said he had “no specific figures” about how many of some 1,200 escaped prisoners were back behind bars. Only 18 were recaptured on Saturday, although there are reports today that the figure has reached 100. Over 1,000 are still on the run.
Yesterday, the government closed the Libya-Egypt border crossing at Musaid to try and prevent fugitives escaping into Egypt.
On Saturday, Hejazi said that there had been no outside interference and the prisoners had escaped during a riot inside the prison. Reports now suggest, however, that prisoners were able to make their escape because the “civil disobedience” inside the prison coincided with the prison being attacked from outside.
Kuwafiyah prison is now back under the control of the military police, who were responsible for running it when the jailbreak took place. Security at the facility was said to be substandard. [/restrict]