Extra Than 1,800 Prisoners Break Out of Jail in Nigeria

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DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian authorities say they’re trying to find about 1,800 inmates who escaped from a jail aided by closely armed gunmen within the southeastern nook of the nation, the place anti-government separatists have lengthy been energetic.

The authorities laid blame for the jailbreak on a insurgent group that promotes the decades-old reason behind secession for Nigeria’s southeastern nook, popularly referred to as Biafra.

The escapes got here as safety has been declining in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, the place kidnapping has develop into rife and the military has been deployed to answer safety threats, together with terrorism and banditry, in nearly each state.

Jail officers stated that early on Monday morning, males armed with subtle weapons arrived at a jail in Owerri, in southeastern Imo State. They exchanged fireplace with safety personnel, in line with jail officers, after which used explosives to blast their manner into the jail yard.

Nigeria’s safety companies have launched a search operation to recapture the inmates. They put the variety of escapees at 1,844.

Jail officers stated in a press release that they had been “interesting to the great residents of Imo State and certainly Nigerians to volunteer helpful intelligence that may facilitate the restoration effort.”

They stated all officers at different prisons ought to “stay vigilant at this attempting second in our historical past,” suggesting concern about additional jail breaks.

Just a few prisoners had been trickling again into custody, accompanied by their relations or attorneys, Francis Enobore, a spokesman for the jail system in Nigeria, stated in a WhatsApp alternate. Thirty-five inmates refused to go away when the jailbreak occurred, he stated.

The police stated that the attackers had been members of the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra, a secessionist group that has been banned in Nigeria since 2017 and is designated as a “militant terrorist group” by the federal government.

However a spokesperson for the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra denied that the group — or its paramilitary wing, the Japanese Safety Community — had been concerned.

“E.S.N. is within the bush chasing terrorists and haven’t any enterprise with the stated assaults,” the spokesperson, Emma Highly effective, stated in a press release. “It’s not our mandate to assault safety personnel or jail services.”

There have been no casualties among the many police, who repelled an assault on the armory on the jail, in line with Frank Mba, a police spokesman.

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