1,800 Nigerian prisoners escape after gunmen storm the building

1,800 inmates escape from prison in Nigeria after gunmen with RPGs and explosives storm the building

  • 1,844 inmates were freed in the coordinated attack in south-eastern Nigeria
  • Gunmen blasted into the administrative building of the jail using explosives 
  • Six inmates returned to the prison, while 35 refused to take part in the jailbreak

More than 1,800 prisoners have escaped jail in Nigeria after the building was stormed by gunmen with rocket propelled grenades and explosives, officials say. 

Gunmen used explosives to blast their way into the administrative building of the prison in the early hours of Monday. 

The heavily armed men, who arrived in pickup trucks and buses, were also carrying machine guns and rifles. 

At least 1,844 inmates were freed during the attack on the prison in the south-eastern town of Owerri, the Nigerian Correctional Service has confirmed.

More than 1,800 prisoners have escaped jail in Nigeria after the building was stormed by gunmen with rocket propelled grenades and explosives on Monday, officials say

Gunmen used explosives to blast their way into the administrative building of the prison (pictured, burned documents inside the building)

Six inmates have reportedly returned to the Imo state prison, while 35 refused to take part in the jailbreak. 

Police have blamed the Indigenous People of Biafra, a banned separatist group in the south-west of the country.

The group, which say they are fighting to restore independence to the south-western state of Biafra through a referendum, have denied staging the prison break. 

A spokesperson for the group told AFP the accusations were ‘lies’, without expanding. 

At least 1,844 inmates were freed during the coordinated attack on the prison in the south-eastern town of Owerri, gunmen appeared to have burned vehicles parked outside the jail

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called on security services to catch the perpetrators, who he termed ‘anarchists’, and the escapees. 

He said the attack was an ‘act of terrorism’.  

This attack is not the first to take place in Nigeria’s Imo state this year. 

Several police stations and vehicles in the region have been the target of attacks since January.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which have resulted in large amounts of ammunition being stolen. 

A spokesperson for the banned Indigenous People of Biafra group told AFP the accusations were ‘lies’ and denied responsibility for the attack, in which piles of documents were reduced to ash

Several similar attacks on police stations and vehicles in the region have taken place since January

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