Gunmen free greater than 1,800 inmates in assault on Nigerian jail By Reuters

2/2 © Reuters. Burnt automobiles are seen outdoors the Nigeria police drive Imo state command headquaters after gunmen attacked and set properties ablaze in Imo State 2/2 By Tife Owolabi YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Greater than 1,800 prisoners are on the run in southeast Nigeria after escaping when closely armed gunmen attacked their jail utilizing


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© Reuters. Burnt automobiles are seen outdoors the Nigeria police drive Imo state command headquaters after gunmen attacked and set properties ablaze in Imo State

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By Tife Owolabi

YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Greater than 1,800 prisoners are on the run in southeast Nigeria after escaping when closely armed gunmen attacked their jail utilizing explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, the authorities mentioned on Tuesday.

Nigerian police mentioned it believed a banned separatist group, the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra (IPOB), was behind the assault within the metropolis of Owerri, however a spokesman for the group denied involvement.

The secessionist motion within the southeast is one in every of a number of severe safety challenges dealing with President Muhammadu Buhari, together with a decade-long Islamist insurgency within the northeast, a spate of college kidnappings within the northwest and piracy within the Gulf of Guinea.

“The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo state has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully launched a complete of 1,844 inmates in custody,” a Nigerian Correctional Service spokesman mentioned in a press release late on Monday. The attackers stormed the power at round 2:15 a.m. (0115 GMT) on Monday, he mentioned.

The police mentioned attackers used explosives to blast the executive block of the jail and entered the jail yard.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers… are members of the proscribed Indigenous Individuals of Biafra (IPOB),” mentioned Frank Mba, a spokesman for the Nigeria Police Pressure.

IPOB needs independence for a area in southeast Nigeria it calls Biafra. A million folks died in a 1967-70 civil conflict between the Nigerian authorities and secessionists in Biafra.

Tensions have elevated within the southeast in latest months within the wake of accusations {that a} paramilitary wing of IPOB, generally known as the Japanese Safety Community (ESN), has been concerned in clashes with the navy.

However an IPOB spokesman advised Reuters the group didn’t perform the jail assault.

“IPOB and ESN weren’t concerned within the assault in Owerri, Imo state. It’s not our mandate to assault safety personnel or jail services,” the IPOB spokesman mentioned in a cellphone name.

A number of police stations have been attacked in southeastern Nigeria since January, with massive quantities of ammunition stolen. No teams have claimed accountability for the assaults.

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