Police hunt hundreds of escaped inmates

2010-09-09 10:07

Bauchi, Nigeria – Police were hunting hundreds of inmates who escaped when suspected Islamists used machine guns and bombs in a Nigerian prison attack. Authorities warned other jails may be vulnerable.

The Islamist sect suspected in the attack that freed more than 700 prisoners had launched an uprising in the country’s north last year put down by a brutal assault, and Nigeria’s government said it would move to prevent a repeat.

More than 100 alleged members of the extremist group were among those who escaped in the Tuesday night siege in the northern city of Bauchi, police said.

The interior minister said the attackers, believed to be from a sect known as Boko Haram, used “overwhelming firepower” and police described them as being armed with machine guns and home-made bombs.

They set fire to a section of the prison complex and fought a fierce gun battle with authorities. Police said four people were killed.

“We also wish to warn any potential troublemakers that the federal government will not fold its arms and allow the situation to degenerate unchecked,” interior minister Emmanuel Ihenacho said.

Leaflets were found at the scene after the attack warning of further violence and saying in the Hausa language that “this holy work was made possible by Allah’s grace, under the auspices of your mujahideen brethren”.

The head of Nigeria’s prisons visited the jail yesterday and said security would be tightened at other detention centres, particularly in areas that have been targeted in the past by the Islamists.

“We know there are some vulnerable prisons around,” said Olusola Ogundipe, naming two northern areas in particular, including Maiduguri, which was the centre of last year’s uprising. “We have beefed up security in these places.”

Police said a total of 721 inmates were freed in the attack, including 105 suspected sect members. Thirty-five had been re-arrested, they said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.