IMO: Over 1,800 inmates escape in jailbreak amid attack by gunmen

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The escape of over 1,844 inmates from jail in the southeastern city of Owerri, the capital of Imo State has been confirmed by the Nigerian police after gunmen attacked a prison facility.

Francis Enobore, the spokesman of the Nigerian Correctional Service, said in a statement late Monday the attack took place at dawn as Nigeria experienced one of its largest jailbreaks

He said that the gunmen stormed the prison using explosives to force open the gate, he said.

“The attackers arrived at the center in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna buses, armed with sophisticated weapons, and immediately engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle. They eventually detonated explosives to gain entry,” the official said.

Reports say other government buildings in the town of Owerri also came under attack at the same time.

No group has so far taken responsibility for the attack, but the region is known for being home to a number of separatist organizations.

The Nigerian inspector general of police blamed the paramilitary wing of one of them, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), for the assault.

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