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

DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian authorities say they’re looking for about 1,800 inmates who escaped from a jail aided by closely armed gunmen in 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 trigger of secession for Nigeria’s southeastern nook, popularly generally known as Biafra.

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

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

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

Jail officers mentioned in a press release that they have been “interesting to the nice residents of Imo State and certainly Nigerians to volunteer helpful intelligence that can facilitate the restoration effort.”

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

A couple of prisoners have been trickling again into custody, accompanied by their kin or legal professionals, Francis Enobore, a spokesman for the jail system in Nigeria, mentioned in a WhatsApp alternate. Thirty-five inmates refused to depart when the jailbreak occurred, he mentioned.

The police mentioned that the attackers have been members of the Indigenous {People} 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 {People} of Biafra denied that the group — or its paramilitary wing, the Jap Safety Community — have been concerned.

“E.S.N. is in the bush chasing terrorists and haven’t any enterprise with the mentioned assaults,” the spokesperson, Emma Highly effective, mentioned 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 accordance with Frank Mba, a police spokesman.

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Supply: NYTimes
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