Around 120 inmates have broken out of a prison in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, leaving authorities scrambling to find the fugitives and take them back into custody.
The Al-Jadaida prison is for common criminals and is controlled by the justice ministry.
"Security services are on high alert to catch them," said Khaled al-Sharif, the head of the National Guard, in an interview with the AFP news agency. "We are trying to hunt them down and some have already been arrested."
Monday's incident is the second of its kind to occur this year in Libya.
Human rights activist have criticized the Libyan authorities in the past for detaining members associated with the fallen regime of Moammar Gadhafi without bringing charges against them. Gadhafi was captured and killed in October of last year.
The Associated Press quoted Abdel-Moneim al-Hurr, a spokesman for the Supreme Security Committee, as saying no guards were hurt in Monday's jailbreak. This led him to speculate that some of the guards may have been paid off.
mz/av (AFP, AP)