'Boko Haram' storms Nigerian prison

2012-02-16 15:02

Kano - Suspected Islamist gunmen bombed their way into a prison in central Nigeria before opening fire on the wardens and emptying the jail of its 200 inmates, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

The attack in the central Kogi state left one warden dead and while there was no official confirmation of the raiders' identity, local residents suspected the Boko Haram Islamist sect which has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria.

"There was a jail break last night. From reports available to us, a large number of gunmen attacked the Koton Karfe prison around 19:00 and threw explosives at the gate and opened fire on our wardens," said prison spokesperson Hadiza Aminu.

She said a shootout then erupted.

"One of our men was killed and the gunmen overpowered the wardens and broke into the cells, freeing inmates - 199 inmates all awaiting trial escaped, leaving only one inmate," she told AFP.

"From all indications, the attackers were members of Boko Haram," said Isiaka Yakub, adding that there were around 20 of them.

A local reporter said "some gunmen believed to be members of Boko Haram sect stormed the prison at about 19:00 and blasted the prison gate with explosives."

Boko Haram is blamed for series of gun and bomb attacks in several parts of Africa's most populous country in recent months.

In September 2010, Boko Haram attacked a prison in northern Bauchi and freed more than 700 inmates.