A total of 1,844 prisoners were freed when gunmen attacked a correctional facility in Owerri, an official has said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the prison by armed men initially suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
The group had been blamed for previous attacks on security officers and facilities in the South-east and South-south regions.
Francis Enobore, the spokesperson of the correctional centre has now released a statement on the attack. He did not indicate that the attack was carried out by IPOB, saying it was by ”unknown gunmen.”
“The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody,” Mr Enobore wrote.
“The attackers who stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday 5th April, 2021, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block.”
He said “6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack.”
Read the full statement below.
PRNigeria News Release
‘Unknown Gunmen’ Release 1,844 Inmates in Owerri Custodial Centre
The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody.
The attackers who stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday 5th April, 2021, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block.
They were said to have arrived the centre in their large number in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna Buses armed with sophisticated weapons and immediately engaged the security personnel on duty in a fierce gun battle.
They eventually detonated the explosive to gain entrance.
The Acting Controller-General of Corrections, John Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident and in collaboration with other security organizations, commenced a search and recover operations to recapture the fleeing inmates.
While appealing to the good citizens of Imo State and indeed Nigerians to volunteer useful intelligence that will facilitate the recovery effort, the Ag. Controller-General wishes to assure that the security of custodial centres in the country remains sacrosanct.
He equally directed all officers attached to custodial facilities to remain vigilant at this trying moment in our history.
As at the last count, 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack.
Francis Enobore, mni
Public Relations Officer,
For: Controller-General of Corrections
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