(NIGERIA) JUST IN: More than 1,800 inmates escaped from a prison in the south-eastern city of Owerri after an attack by gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, explosives and rifles, the prisons authority said #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.07: The secessionist movement in the south-east is one of several serious security challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari, including a decade-long Islamist insurgency in the north-east, a spate of school kidnappings in the north-west and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Gunmen attack Nigerian prison, leading to escape of 1,800 inmates in Owerri police said it believed a banned separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was behind the attack, but a spokesman for the group denied involvement according to Reuters

Posted 3h ago, updated 3h ago

Nigerian prison escape
Police say the prison was hit by gunmen in an early morning attack.(Reuters: David Dosunmu/Handout)

“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 said in a statement.

The attackers stormed the facility at around 2:15am local time on Monday, he said.

The attackers used explosives to blast the administrative block of the prison and entered the prison yard, police said in a separate statement.

Tensions have increased in the south-east in recent months in the wake of accusations that a paramilitary wing of IPOB, known as the Eastern Security Network, have been involved in clashes with the military.

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

But a spokesman for IPOB told Reuters in a phone call that the group was not involved. 

Several police stations have been attacked in south-eastern Nigeria since January, with large amounts of ammunition stolen.

No groups have claimed responsibility for the attacks.

#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Apr.07: 2021:

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