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More Than 1,000 Prisoners Escape In Massive Libyan Jailbreak

Libyan protesters shown after ransacking the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Party of Justice and Construction, in Tripoli on Saturday.
Mahmud Turkia
/
AFP/Getty Images
Libyan protesters shown after ransacking the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Party of Justice and Construction, in Tripoli on Saturday.

More than 1,000 inmates, many convicted of serious crimes, have escaped from a prison in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, the country's prime minister confirmed.

According to The Associated Press, it wasn't immediately clear if the jailbreak at Koyfiya prison was part of a larger series of protests taking place across the country on Saturday in response to the assassination on Friday of prominent political activist Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was an outspoken opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to AP:

"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 Koyfiya prison said. ...

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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.