2 inmates die in Tunisia prison fire, part of failed escape bid

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia’s official state news agency says two inmates have died in a prison fire in a central city.

Sunday’s report by TAP said the deaths in Kairouan occurred after prisoners set mattresses alight late Saturday in a failed bid to escape.

Earlier in the week, more than 800 inmates broke out of jails in the central cities of Kasserine and Gafsa using a similar tactic. A TAP report said 125 of those who escaped were detained Saturday.

Tunisia’s jails have been plagued by escapes since the uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January. Up to 11,000 prisoners escaped during the unrest, though thousands of them have since either been recaptured or given themselves up.

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