Unconfirmed reports say nearly 1,000 inmates escaped from correctional facility in south-west of country
First published on Sat 23 Oct 2021 10.41 EDT
Gunmen have attacked a prison in south-west Nigeria, freeing about 575 inmates, officials said.
The third jailbreak in Africa’s most populous country this year raises more concerns about how safe detention facilities are in the west African country where authorities have struggled to stem rising violence.
A handful of security facilities, especially police stations, have been attacked in a similar manner over the past year.
“Gunmen that came in large numbers” attacked the Abonlogo correctional facility with grenades on Friday evening, Olanrewaju Anjorin, an administration spokesperson for the prison in Oyo state, said.
“A lot of inmates were re-arrested after the attack, and it is still ongoing,” he said, without specifying how many prisoners had escaped, or confirming whether there had been any casualties.
He said the police would give a statement with more details about the attack soon.
Africa’s most populous country has struggled with rampant insecurity, with large swaths of its territory under the control of criminal groups.
About 240 prisoners escaped on the 13 September during an attack on another prison in Kogi state, central Nigeria.
While in April, more than 1,800 inmates escaped during an attack on yet another prison in the south-east.
Most of the recent jailbreaks seem to be unconnected although the attacks are carried out in a similar manner with the use of explosives.
Authorities have managed to rearrest some escaped inmates, sometimes in neighbouring states, while others return willingly.
Nigerian prisons hold 70,000 inmates but only about 20,000, or 27%, have been convicted, according to government data.