Government forces using troops and helicopters recaptured 39 of the escapees in the days after the escape. Prison officials stated that about 280 of the escapees were members of the Islamic Front, many of whom were under sentence of death for terrorism.
The attack occurred in the early evening as prisoners broke the daily fast that marks the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The prisoners had help from at least two guards according to the government.
Since 1992 the Islamic Front has waged a rebellion against the military government of Algeria after they were prevented from taking office when they won elections. Aside from several thousand dead, this has resulted in thousands of real or suspected Islamic Front supporters being imprisoned.
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