Terrorists using guns and explosives smashed their way into a prison near the Nigerian capital, freeing hundreds of inmates in an operation to release jailed comrades, the government said on Wednesday.
The brazen attack on the outskirts of Abuja came hours after an ambush on a presidential security convoy in the northwest, in a fresh illustration of Nigeria’s security crisis.
Residents reported loud explosions and gunfire late Tuesday near the Kuje medium-security prison just outside the capital.
Security forces cordoned off streets in the area early Wednesday.
Outside the jail, the burned-out wreckage of a bus and cars marked the scene of the attack, and yellow police tape was stretched across a destroyed part of the prison perimeter.
“We understand they are Boko Haram, they came specifically for their co-conspirators,” senior interior ministry official Shuaibu Belgore told reporters on a visit to the prison.“Right now we have retrieved about 300 out of about 600 who got out of the jail cells.” One security official was killed when the gunmen breached the jail using high-grade explosives.
“We heard shooting on my street. We thought it was armed robbers,” a local resident said. “The first explosion came after the shooting. —AFP