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Nigeria prison break: More than 1,800 inmates escape after gunmen attack jail | World News

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More than 1,800 prisoners have escaped from a prison in Nigeria after an attack by suspected militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

Gunmen stormed the prison in the southeastern city of Owerri after blasting their way in with explosives.

It was among a series of coordinated assaults launched in the early hours of Monday, which also targeted police and military facilities in the capital of Imo state.

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Efforts are in ‘top gear’ to detain the released fugitives, say authorities

Nigerian police have blamed the attacks on the paramilitary wing of a banned separatist movement in the region called the Eastern Security Network.

However, the group has denied involvement.

A Nigeria prison spokesman said: “The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo state has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody.”

He added: “Efforts are in top gear to re-arrest the fleeing detainees.”

Burnt vehicles are seen outside the Nigeria police force Imo state command headquaters after gunmen attacked and set properties ablaze in Imo State
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A police headquarters was also targeted in the coordinated assaults

A separate police statement said: “The attempt by the attackers to gain access to the police armoury at the headquarters was totally and appropriately resisted.”

The attacks come less than two weeks after a previous wave of violence in the southeastern part of the country, when at least a dozen security officers were killed during assaults on four police stations, military checkpoints and prison vehicles.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari
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Nigeria’s president is facing a number of serious security challenges

Large amounts of ammunition was stolen in the raids for which no group has claimed responsibility.

It is among a number of serious security challenges facing President Muhammadu Buhari, including a decade-long Islamist insurgency in the northeast, a spate of school kidnappings in the northwest and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

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