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Gaddafi supporters escape Libya prison in mass jail break Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Gaddafi supporters escape Libya prison in mass jail break

Tripoli has been at the centre of a battle for influence since Gaddafi's fall [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 September, 2018

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Some 400 prisoners have escaped after a riot at a jail in the southern suburbs of the Libyan capital Tripoli amid fierce fighting between rival militias.

Some 400 prisoners have escaped after a riot at a jail in the southern suburbs of the Libyan capital Tripoli amid fierce fighting between rival militias, police said.

The Judicial Police Department made the announcement in an online statement on Sunday, as the UN-backed government declared a state of emergency in and around Tripoli.

"Inmates at Ain Zara prison rioted because of the loud clashes next to the prison, leading to 400 escaping," the statement said.

It added that prisoners forced open the doors and overwhelmed guards, who were unable to prevent them from fleeing as they feared for their lives.

The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported that many of the escaped inmates were supporters of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, found guilty of killings during the uprising that toppled his regime in 2011.

The fighting in Tripoli erupted last week when the Seventh Brigade, militias which hail from Tarhouna, a town about 60 kilometres south of Tripoli, attacked southern neighbourhoods of the capital.

The Tripoli Revolutionaries' Brigades and the Nawasi Brigade, militias which support the UN-backed government, have come to the city's defense.

At least 47 people, including civilians, have been killed, and another 130 have been wounded, the Health Ministry said.

The Government of National Unity (GNA) which is recognised by the international community on Sunday said it was declaring a state of emergency in the Libyan capital and its environs.

The Libyan capital has been at the centre of a battle for influence between armed groups since Gaddafi's fall and killing.

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