KOGI, Abuja (Associated Press) – At least 600 inmates have escaped in a jailbreak operation in Nigeria’s capital, officials said Wednesday, blaming the attack on radical Islamist rebels.
Authorities said about 300 were re-arrested.
“Highly determined” rebels attacked Abuja’s Kogi Al-Aqsa prison Tuesday night with “high-quality explosives,” killing one guard on duty, according to Shoaib Belgor, permanent secretary of Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior.
Explosions and gunfire were heard around 10pm in the Kogi area of Abuja when the attackers arrived and made their way to the prison through an explosive crater.
The radical Islamist rebels who attacked the prison launched an insurgency in the northeast of the country more than a decade ago. Prison officials said their attack on the detention center freed many of its inmates.
We understand that they are Boko Haram. They came specifically for their co-conspirators,” Belgor said. “At the moment, we have recovered about 300 of the approximately 600 released from prison.”
Jihadist rebels in Nigeria have carried out several prison breaks in the northeast of the country in recent years, but this is the first in the capital.
An extremist insurgency in Nigeria, carried out by Boko Haram and its offshoot known as the Islamic State in Central Africa, has been blamed for the violence that has killed more than 35,000 people and displaced more than two million, according to the United Nations. , Hunger and lack of health services caused by the insurgency indirectly caused the deaths of more than 300,000 additional people, the United Nations says.
Extremist violence is the most serious security challenge in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country of 206 million, which is also battling violence in the northwest region by rebel patrons and a separatist movement in the south of the country.