Gunmen free more than 1,800 inmates in attack on Nigerian prison

More 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 stated on Tuesday.

Nigerian police stated it believed a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People 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 among a number of critical safety challenges going through 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.

Owerri : Burned autos are parked exterior the police command headquarters in Owerri, Nigeria, on Monday, April 5, 2021. Hundreds of inmates escaped from a jail within the southeastern Nigerian metropolis after a sequence of coordinated assaults, based on authorities officers. AP/PTI(AP04_06_2021_000008B)

“The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo state has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody,” a Nigerian Correctional Service spokesman stated in an announcement late on Monday. The attackers stormed the ability at round 2:15 a.m. (0115 GMT) on Monday, he stated.

The police stated 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 People of Biafra (IPOB),” stated Frank Mba, a spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force.

Imo state Gov. Hope Uzodinma, heart, inspects the scene of an assault on the police command headquarters in Owerri, Nigeria, on Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/David Dosunmu)

IPOB desires independence for a area in southeast Nigeria it calls Biafra. One million folks died in a 1967-70 civil battle 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, often known as the Eastern Security Network (ESN), has been concerned in clashes with the army.

But an IPOB spokesman informed Reuters the group didn’t perform the jail assault.

“IPOB and ESN were not involved in the attack in Owerri, Imo state. It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities,” the IPOB spokesman stated in a telephone name.

Several 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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