Tue, 16 Aug 2022

Hundreds of Prisoners At Large in Nigeria after Armed Attack

Voice of America
07 Jul 2022, 05:05 GMT+10

The Abuja prison attack is the latest incident in a series of widespread violent episodes perpetrated by armed gangs in Nigeria.

Heavily armed men invaded the facility late Tuesday, shooting and detonating explosives.

Officials say one prison officer was killed and some 600 inmates were freed by the gunmen before they were repelled by state security forces.

There was heavy security at the prison Wednesday as authorities say they have begun searching for missing inmates. Officials say up to 300 escapees have been recaptured.

Shuaib Belgore is the permanent secretary of the ministry of interior.

'We don't know how many were killed among the attackers. It's possible they took their injured and other casualties along with them. But on our side just one death and about three injuries'

On Wednesday, relatives of inmates gathered at the prison yard hoping for updates from authorities.

No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack but officials suspect terror group Boko Haram.

The Kuje medium security prison is home to hundreds of inmates including high profile officials and some captured Boko Haram insurgents.

Nigeria's top police officer, Abba Kyari, who was indicted in a money laundering case with international fraudster known as hushpuppi, was among those held there.

Kuje resident Asabe Isah says she heard explosions and what sounded like shelling.

'The sound I heard was like a blast because the house vibrated a bit. And then after five minutes the second blast again'

Nigeria has seen increasing attacks across many regions on a almost daily basis.

Hours before the prison attack, armed men ambushed the president's convoy on its way to his home town in northwestern Katsina State. The president was not in the convoy, but two other people were injured.

Security experts say the spate of attacks is an indication that authorities have not handled security matters seriously.

Senator Iroegbu is a security analyst.

'This is a very serious intelligence failure or security breach. This is audacious especially to the number one prison in the country when it comes to housing terrorists inmates or suspects.

Since 2020, armed groups have freed more than 5,000 prisoners in several attacks.

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