Around 50 inmates have escaped from a prison in southern Tunisian city of Gabes after attacking the guards overnight.
The incident took place on Sunday night when the prison guards went to a cell in response to a call for help. However, they were attacked by the inmates, Head of Tunisia’s Prison Service Habib Sboui said. Sixteen of the escapees were detained several hours after the escape, Sboui added.
Sboui criticized the " lamentable infrastructure " of the Gabes prison and appealed to the “Tunisian society and to donors to contribute to the improvement of this prison. "
The incident is the latest in a series of prison breaks that have swept the North African nation, after an uprising toppled the longtime dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The Interior Ministry has said some 11,000 inmates escaped in the upheaval surrounding the ouster of the former dictator at the start of 2011. There have been a number of large - scale jailbreaks across the region in past weeks, notably in the Libyan city of Benghazi where nearly 1,300 inmates escaped from the al - Kweifiya prison in late July with the suspected assistance of al - Qaeda militants. According to a recent report by the Austrian daily,DerStandard, the prison breaks in the region are staged with the help of a regional Persian Gulf country to support the al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group in Syria, al-Nusra Front. The report said the prisoners were helped to escape under the condition that they will be sent to the Syria to fight against the government of President of Bashar al-Assad.