Skip to main content

1,200 inmates escape from Benghazi prison with help of neighbors

By Hamdi Alkhshali and Holly Yan, CNN
July 28, 2013 -- Updated 1003 GMT (1803 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Of the 1,200 who escaped, 18 have been captured and a few have surrendered
  • Prime minister: Residents stormed the prison because they didn't want it in their area
  • Authorities couldn't draw their arms on the residents, allowing them to help the prisoners
  • City official: Benghazi's security apparatus "suffers from the lack of manpower and equipment"

(CNN) -- Libyan authorities are trying to round up 1,200 inmates who spilled out of a Benghazi prison.

The prisoners escaped the al-Kwyfah facility in Benghazi early Friday, but only 18 have been captured, city security spokesman Mohammed Hujazi told Libya News TV on Saturday. A few others have surrendered, Hujazi said.

Residents living next to the prison stormed the facility because they didn't want a prison in their neighborhood, said Ali Zaidan, prime minister of Libya's transitional government.

Authorities rushed to the scene, but were instructed "not to draw arms against citizens," Zaidan said.

So the al-Kwyfah residents were able to open the floodgates for the prisoners.

Zaidan said the country's border posts have lists of the escaped prisoners. He also ordered the closure of Libya's border with Egypt, to the east.

"Nobody will be allowed to cross, but we will allow the goods only to enter in the month of Ramadan," Zaidan said.

Hujazi, the city's security spokesman, said the security apparatus in Benghazi "suffers from the lack of manpower and equipment."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Experts believe that ISIS may be using a Spanish enclave to bring jihad to Europe.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
With an efficient subway, inexpensive taxis and a good public bus system, Hong Kong is normally an easy city to navigate ...
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 2332 GMT (0732 HKT)
CNN's Ivan Watson was in the middle of a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong when things got out of hand.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
The world's animal population has halved in 40 years as humans put unsustainable demands on Earth, a new report warns.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
Every day, refugees and migrants risk their lives as they seek a new life. Now, a new report puts a figure to the number of victims.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Mainstream commentators must promote positive role models to Muslims feeling victimized, writes Ghaffar Hussain.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 0613 GMT (1413 HKT)
Two men familiar with inside knowledge of ISIS speak with CNN's Arwa Damon.
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2010 GMT (0410 HKT)
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 1503 GMT (2303 HKT)
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0154 GMT (0954 HKT)
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT