Some 400 prisoners escaped from a jail in the Libyan capital, authorities say, as fighting between rival militias that has killed dozens of people forced the UN-backed government to declare a state of emergency in and around Tripoli.
The inmates overwhelmed guards and forced open the doors of the Ain Zara prison after riots broke out there, police say in a statement posted on Facebook. The prisoners included many supporters of the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi who had been found guilty of killings during the 2011 uprising that ended his rule and plunged the country into chaos.
The fighting in Tripoli erupted last week when the Seventh Brigade, militias which hail from Tarhouna, a town about 40 miles (60 kilometers) south of Tripoli, attacked southern neighborhoods 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 says.