BEIRUT: Security forces Monday launched a manhunt for an escaped Roumieh Prison inmate after two others he broke out with were captured, security sources told The Daily Star.
Security forces are in pursuit of a 23-year-old Syrian identified as Muhannad Abdel-Rahman. Authorities caught two Lebanese inmates, Mohammad al-Jouni, a 32-year-old charged with murdering a person from Al-Jurdi family, and Said Sabra, also 32, shortly after they managed to get out of the prison.
Sources told The Daily Star the inmates escaped at 4 a.m. from the bloc that houses prisoners who have been sentenced.
The Internal Security Forces and Lebanese Army patrols searched for them in the woods surrounding the prison as soon as their escape was discovered, according to the sources. The ISF said Jouni and Sabra were arrested separately at 7:15 a.m. and 9:50 a.m. respectively.
The ISF has released a photo of Abdel-Rahman, asking citizens to come forward with information about him by contacting the police hotline on 1123 or 01-426-688.
Roumieh Prison, Lebanon’s largest prison facility, is located near residential and commercial areas in the Metn region.
The government's deputy commissioner at the Military Tribunal, Judge Sami Sader, visited Roumieh Prison and has launched an investigation into the incident.
A judicial source said Sader’s probe centers on 12 prison guards who might have helped the inmates escape.
"The picture is almost complete and Judge Sader is expected to finalize his investigation tomorrow and refer whoever the probe reveals is accused of negligence or was an accomplice to the military prosecutor,” the source said.
Jouni, Sabra and Muhannad agreed to escape together after monitoring possible locations to flee from, according to the source.
After breaking into an office and threatening an employee there with sharp objects, the three inmates stole the keys to the gate that connected their prison bloc to the courtyard, the source added.
The three then climbed over the basketball court and climbed onto the roof of a smaller building, where they tied several sheets together and let themselves down the other side of the prison walls using the knotted fabric as a rope, the source said.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk expressed hope that the security forces would arrest the third fugitive as soon as possible. Speaking to the Voice of Lebanon Radio Station, Mashnouk said the officers suspected of dereliction of duty would be punished.