Over 60 people fled a detention centre in Lebanon on Saturday, including six who later died in a car accident on a nearby road, a judicial source said.
The prisoners broke past tight security at the facility near the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, early in the morning, according to the source.
Nine have since been recaptured while six others died after a car they hijacked swerved into a tree in slippery road conditions, the source added.
The official National News Agency reported the breakout and crash but did not specify how many people had fled or the accident toll.
Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces were not immediately available for comment.
With the remaining detainees still at large, local authorities have called on residents to be on alert, and security forces have deployed heavily to sweep the area.
Prosecutor Ghada Aoun has ordered an immediate investigation.
Speaking to AFP, she said she did not rule out the possibility of ‘collusion between the detainees and security guards tasked with protecting their cell.’
The mass escape comes as detainees across Lebanon have called on parliament to approve a draft general amnesty law that would see thousands of them freed from coronavirus-hit prisons.
Lebanon has recorded over 113,000 Covid-19 cases including 884 deaths since its outbreak first began in February.
The country is currently under lockdown until the end of the month to stem an uptick in infections.
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