40 inmates escape in Libyan prison break
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40 inmates escape in Libyan prison break

Police, army unable to secure country, relying on armed militias who fought in 2011 civil war

This image made from video shows a protester holding up spent ammunition in Tripoli, Libya after militiamen attacked peaceful protesters demanding the disbanding of the country's rampant armed groups on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, killing tens of people as they opened fire on the march with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. (AP Photo via AP video)
This image made from video shows a protester holding up spent ammunition in Tripoli, Libya after militiamen attacked peaceful protesters demanding the disbanding of the country's rampant armed groups on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, killing tens of people as they opened fire on the march with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. (AP Photo via AP video)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A Libyan security official says 40 inmates have escaped from a prison in the southern city of Sabha after it came under attack by unknown gunmen.

The local official said Saturday that the gunmen opened fire on the prison a day earlier and helped the inmates to escape after threatening the guards. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to brief reporters.

Libya’s state news agency LANA quoted prison director Shaaban Nasr as saying that scores of detainees later handed themselves in.

Jailbreaks are frequent in Libya, where the nascent police and army have been unable to secure the country and rely on armed militias who fought in the 2011 civil war that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi and often act above the law.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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