Tunisia prison fire - 300 inmates escape

2011-04-29 22:37

Tunis - About 300 inmates at a jail in southwest Tunisia escaped on Friday after a fire was started in a cell, the TAP agency reported.

The army, together with security teams in the Gafsa prison area, have arrested 35 of the escapees and are continuing to search for the others, it said.

No one was killed in the fire, which is not said to have caused any damage.

The incident follows the escape of several prisoners from a jail in the west-central town of Kasserine earlier on Friday, when a fire was also started in a cell, the justice ministry said.

He confirmed an inquiry was under way into the circumstances of the blaze.

There were mass prison escapes during the country's popular uprising earlier this year when President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to step down after 23 years in power.

At the end of January the justice minister called on about 9 500 inmates to return to jail.