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
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 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