1,800 Nigerian prisoners escape after gunmen storm the building with RPGs and explosives

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1,800 prisoners escape prison in Nigeria after gunmen storm the building with RPGs and explosives

  • 1,844 prisoners were released in the coordinated attack in southeastern Nigeria
  • Gunmen fired explosives into the prison administration building
  • Six inmates returned to the prison, while 35 refused to participate in the prison break

More than 1,800 inmates have escaped prison in Nigeria after the building was stormed by gunmen with rocket grenades and explosives, officials say.

Gunmen used explosives to shoot into the prison administration building in the early hours of Monday.

The heavily armed men, who arrived in pick-up trucks and buses, also carried machine guns and rifles.

At least 1,844 prisoners were released during the attack on the prison in the southeastern city of Owerri, the Nigerian Correctional Service has confirmed.

More than 1,800 inmates have escaped prison in Nigeria after the building was stormed by gunmen with rocket grenades and explosives on Monday, officials say.

More than 1,800 inmates have escaped prison in Nigeria after the building was stormed by gunmen with rocket grenades and explosives on Monday, officials say.

Gunmen used explosives to shoot into the prison administration building (pictured, documents burned in the building)

Gunmen used explosives to shoot into the prison administration building (pictured, documents burned in the building)

Gunmen used explosives to shoot into the prison administration building (pictured, documents burned in the building)

Six inmates have reportedly been returned to Imo state prison, while 35 refused to take part in the jailbreak.

Police have blamed the indigenous people of Biafra, a banned separatist group in the southwest of the country.

The group, which says it is fighting for the restoration of the independence of the southwestern state of Biafra by referendum, has denied organizing the prison break.

A group spokesperson told AFP the allegations were “lies,” without extending.

At least 1,844 prisoners were released during the coordinated attack on the prison in the southeastern city of Owerri, gunmen appeared to have burned vehicles parked outside the prison.

At least 1,844 prisoners were released during the coordinated attack on the prison in the southeastern city of Owerri, gunmen appeared to have burned vehicles parked outside the prison.

At least 1,844 prisoners were released during the coordinated attack on the prison in the southeastern city of Owerri, gunmen appeared to have burned vehicles parked outside the prison.

Six inmates have reportedly returned to Imo state prison (pictured), while 35 refused to participate in the jailbreak

Six inmates have reportedly returned to Imo state prison (pictured), while 35 refused to participate in the jailbreak

Six inmates have reportedly returned to Imo state prison (pictured), while 35 refused to participate in the jailbreak

State Governor Imo Hope Uzodinma (photo, center) has inspected the site.  Police have blamed indigenous people of Biafra, a banned separatist group in the southwest of the country

State Governor Imo Hope Uzodinma (photo, center) has inspected the site.  Police have blamed indigenous people of Biafra, a banned separatist group in the southwest of the country

State Governor Imo Hope Uzodinma (photo, center) has inspected the site. Police have blamed indigenous people of Biafra, a banned separatist group in the southwest of the country

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called on security forces to capture the perpetrators, whom he called “anarchists,” and the refugees.

He said the attack was an “act of terrorism.”

This attack is not the first to take place in Imo state in Nigeria this year.

Several police stations and vehicles in the region have been the target of attacks since January.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, which resulted in large amounts of ammunition being stolen.

A spokesperson for the banned group Indigenous People of Biafra told AFP the allegations were 'lies' and denied responsibility for the attack, reducing piles of documents to ashes.

A spokesperson for the banned group Indigenous People of Biafra told AFP the allegations were 'lies' and denied responsibility for the attack, reducing piles of documents to ashes.

A spokesperson for the banned group Indigenous People of Biafra told AFP the allegations were ‘lies’ and denied responsibility for the attack, reducing piles of documents to ashes.

Several similar attacks on police stations and vehicles in the region have taken place since January

Several similar attacks on police stations and vehicles in the region have taken place since January

Several similar attacks on police stations and vehicles in the region have taken place since January

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