Nigerian gunmen storm prison, freeing 800 inmates

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A gunman attacked a jail in Nigeria’s Oyo State late Friday, forcefully freeing some 800 inmates, the majority of which remained missing on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Officials said the attackers used dynamite to explode the walls and enter through the prison yard after exchanging gunfire with prison officers, the news service reported. 

All but 64 convicts escaped in the attack. About 575 inmates were missing, and 262 others had been recaptured, the prison service said on Saturday, per Reuters. All of the missing detainees were awaiting trial.

“While all the awaiting trial detainees were forced out of custody, the cells housing the convicts and the female inmates were not vandalized,” the prison service said, according to Reuters.

Friday’s attack marked the third of its kind in recent months. 

A similar attack in Imo state in April resulted in 1,800 inmates being freed. Last month, another 266 inmates were forcibly freed in Kogi state, Reuters noted.

Nigeria has struggled to contain violence and kidnapping across society. A group of college students were kidnapped from their school by armed gunmen in March.

Kidnappers attacked another college in February and took several students in the middle of the night. And in December, nearly 330 students were kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School.

Apart from the kidnappings, a gunman stormed a market and killed at least 43 people in the country’s northern Sokoto state earlier this month.

Girls who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram, a militant group, nearly seven years ago — a crime that drew international attention to Nigeria — continue to escape and reunite with their families.

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