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Nigeria: armed men storm prison to evacuate more than 200 prisoners

A spokesperson for the Nigerian correctional service said in a statement that the Kabba district prison in Kogi had been the target of gunfire from unidentified armed men, who raided the site and “immediately engaged the armed guards in a violent shootout “.

“The incident took place around 11:45 p.m. on September 12, 2021,” said Francis Enobore, spokesperson for the Correctional Service.

Enobore said as many as 294 detainees were in custody at the time of the attack, stating that “224 are accused and 70 convicted”.

He added that a “recapture procedure” had been activated to find the fleeing detainees.

A regional police chief told CNN that an officer was killed in the raid.

“Gunmen in large numbers attacked from all angles and gave the correctional service no chance to react,” said Ede Ayuba Ekpeji, deputy inspector general of police for the region.

“A police inspector was killed, another police inspector was injured and taken to hospital,” he added. “Three of the fleeing prisoners have been re-arrested.”

No specific category of prisoners were targeted for release by the attackers, Ekpeji said.

Kogi’s escape comes five months after nearly 2,000 inmates broke free from a prison in Imo State, southeastern Nigeria, after gunmen stormed the detention center and used explosives to blow up parts of the prison, authorities said at the time.
Nigerian Police blamed secessionist groups in the south-eastern region for the attack that occurred in April.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called Imo’s escape “an act of terrorism“, but has not yet commented on the latest raid on Kogi prison.

Nigeria is grappling with one of its worst security crises in recent years as insurgency, separatist conflicts, banditry and kidnappings for ransom continue to increase.