Jos – At least 11 people were killed and more than 250 inmates escaped after gunmen attacked a prison in central Nigeria over the weekend, penitentiary authorities said on Monday.
The attack on Sunday in the flashpoint city of Jos was the latest mass prison breakout in Africa’s most populous country, where prisons are often overcrowded and guarded by overstretched security forces.
Francis Enobore, a custodial security spokesperson, said nine prisoners, one assailant and one guard were killed when gunmen attacked the medium security centre, while 262 inmates managed to flee.
As many as ten prisoners were recaptured soon after the assault.
“One of the gunmen trapped… after invading the facility has been identified as one of those killed in the gun duel,” Enobore said.
“Sadly, one of the… armed squad personnel paid the supreme price in the encounter while 9 inmates also lost their lives.”
At the time of the attack the centre held 1 060 inmates.
Plateau State police spokesperson Ubah Ogaba said nine of the escaped men were rearrested, while another had voluntarily surrendered to police.
More than 800 prisoners escaped from Abolongo prison in southwest Oyo State last month after gunmen used grenades to break into the facility.
More than half were recaptured the next day.
While authorities did not blame any group for the attack, Nigeria’s northwest and central states have been hard hit by heavily armed gangs who raid villages to loot and kidnap residents for ransom.