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Nigerian President Buhari describes prison break that freed nearly 2,000 detainees as ‘act of terrorism’

Six of the 1,844 detainees who escaped from the Owerri detention center in Imo state returned voluntarily, according to a spokesperson for the Nigerian correctional service.

Thirty-five others chose not to flee during the attack, authorities said.

“The assailants who stormed the establishment at around 2:15 am on Monday, April 5, 2021, entered the courtyard using explosives to blow up the administrative block,” said Francis Enobore, spokesperson for the prison service. Nigerian.

Nigerian police blamed the banned secessionist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), for the attack.

Police said the gunmen, who also stormed Force headquarters in the state, were armed with a variety of sophisticated weapons and military equipment.

“The attackers’ attempt to gain access to the police arsenal at headquarters was fully and adequately resisted by the Nigerian police,” the force said in a statement on Monday, adding that no life was lost in the area. ‘incident.

President Muhammadu Buhari, currently on a medical visit to the UK, described the simultaneous attacks as “an act of terrorism”, In a statement released by his spokesperson Garba Shehu.

Buhari also ordered the country’s law enforcement to apprehend the fleeing detainees and arrest the perpetrators who “are suspected of being deadly criminals,” the president said.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the separatist group IPOB, denied the organization’s involvement in the attacks.

He told CNN: “We have no part in what happened in Owerri, Imo State. That said, we do recognize and acknowledge the anger, resentment and sense of injustice felt. by many people – especially young people, ”he told me.

“So what is happening now are people trying to avenge the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of the Nigerian security services. Some people, I believe, have taken the initiative to say ‘enough is enough. Wherever a government allows injustice to escalate, they invite only anarchy, Kanu added.

Nigerian President Buhari describes prison break that freed nearly 2,000 detainees as ‘act of terrorism’
The IPOB was banned and designated a terrorist organization in 2017 by the Nigerian government after its persistent demands for independence fueled periodic clashes with the security forces – resulting in loss of life.

Buhari’s regime continued to suppress IPOB activities, fearing that an escalation of secessionism – especially in the group’s strongholds in eastern Nigeria could spawn another Nigeria-Biafra civil war.

In a 2016 report, Amnesty International accused Nigerian security forces of organizing the killing of dozens of unarmed pro-Biafra protesters. The allegations were dismissed by the Nigerian military at the time.
In 1967, a high-ranking military officer Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu ruled the breakaway republic of Biafra, a secessionist state carved out of southeastern Nigeria.

This led to a bitter civil war from 1967 to 1970 and over a million people starved to death in the aftermath of the war.


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