This article is from the archive of our partner .

Around 15 al Qaeda militants busted out of a jail in the city of Aden today, making it the fourth jailbreak by al Qaeda in the past eight years, which makes having an al Qaeda prison in Yemen not like having one at all.  "A prison officer said at least 10 convicts escaped through an up to 130 feet (40 meter) long tunnel, which took the inmates from under the western side of the Aden prison to near a petrol station outside the prison walls," reports the AP which noted that another official pegs that number at 15, but no official number has been reported yet.  Australia's ABC news has more on the escapees: "None of the escapees were serving a jail sentence. Some were being tried over a 2009 robbery of a bank in Aden, while others were facing charges of being involved in various assassinations of intelligence officers." The whole idea of some of the world's most dangerous terrorists tunneling (isn't that the thing of cartoons?) out of a jail is concerning enough, except for the fact that prison breaks (tunneling ones at that) have happened as recently as June--when between 40-60 suspected al Qaeda members tunneled their way out of a jail in the city of Al-Mukalla. And today's escape marks the fourth, and what the AP describes as "spectacular", jailbreak since 2003.  The AP goes on to add that "Investigations into these breakouts and subsequent trials showed that some prison security officers were involved in helping the convicts flee and several officers have been jailed." Which is good to know, but then again taking a glance at Yemeni jails and their track records with tunnels and breakouts, they haven't really been learning from their previous mistakes. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to