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Iran Press TV

Nigeria launches massive manhunt after brazen prison attack

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 06 April 2021 5:46 PM

Security forces in Nigeria have launched a massive manhunt after a series of coordinated attacks by heavily-armed assailants that resulted in the escape of more than 1,800 inmates from a prison in the country's troubled southeast.

Nigerian authorities said that the attacks began at approximately 2 am on Monday in the town of Owerri in Imo State and lasted for about two hours.

Prison spokesman Francis Enobore said on Tuesday that a massive security operation was underway to detain the escapees.

The official said that 35 other inmates had stayed behind during the prison break.

Gunmen, heavily armed with assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices, also assaulted various other police and military buildings.

No information was immediately available about possible casualties and damage from those attacks.

Several police stations have been attacked in southeastern Nigeria since January. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The latest attacks come less than two weeks after at least a dozen security officers were killed during raids on four police stations, military checkpoints, and prison vehicles in southeastern Nigeria.

The authorities blamed those attacks on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its Eastern Security Network (ESN), a paramilitary wing of the secessionist movement active in the region.

Additionally, attacks by armed gangs, usually referred to simply as bandits, have also intensified across northwest Nigeria in recent years.

Authorities say gangs, involved specifically in kidnappings, are driven by financial motives, but security officials are concerned that they are also being infiltrated by Takfiri terrorists from the northern and northeastern states of Nigeria.

Those parts of the country have been wracked by years of violence perpetrated by the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group.

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