Vanguard (Lagos)

19 August 2012

Nigeria: Prison Bombed, Ten Inmates Escape in Benin

Minister of Interior, Abba Moro has promised to use reforms to address the congestion in Nigerian prisons. ( Resource: Interior Minister Promises to Address Nigeria's Prison Congestion

No fewer than 10 inmates were reported to have escaped Sunday in a violent jail break at Oko Medium Security prisons, Edo State, after some armed men stormed the prison with dynamites.

It was gathered that 12 prisoners were subdued after a serious gun battle. The gunmen who were said to be armed with sophisticated weapons apparently came to forcefully free some of their colleagues in a commando style and engaged a combined unit of the warders and the police in a shoot out.

Vanguard learnt that the invaders came in a Coaster Bus and were about 15 in number.

It was said that the armed men stormed the prison at 1:30a.m., and threw dynamite thrice at the entrance of the prison while the explosion was followed by intense shooting by the gunmen

The explosion caused panic in the area as residents of Oko community started making frantic efforts to get the attention of the soldiers in Joint Task Force code named "Operation Thunder Storm" to come to their rescue.

An eye witness told Vanguard that not less than ten inmates escaped and that 12 were rearrested by the warders and policemen.

It was said that the dynamites blew open the prison gate, through which the inmates escaped. Some of the fleeing inmates were shot while part of the prison's internal barricade was damaged.

It would not be confirmed if there was any casualty, though it was observed that armed security operatives were combing the vicinity.

An eye witness, who spoke told Vanguard said, "it was like a war. The people looked like militants, as the first thing they did was to throw dynamites to the prison gate. Though some of warders ran away, they later regrouped and started shooting at the people."

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