Nigerian President Buhari describes the prison break that freed nearly 2,000 prisoners as an ‘act of terrorism’

Six of the 1,844 inmates who escaped from the Owerri Custody Center in Imo state have returned voluntarily, according to a spokesman for the Nigerian Correctional Service.

Thirty-five others chose not to escape during the attack, authorities said.

“The attackers who broke into the facility around 0215 hours on Monday, April 5, 2021, managed to enter the courtyard using explosives to blow up the administrative block,” said Francis Enobore, spokesman for the Nigerian prison service.

The Nigerian Police have blamed the outlawed secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) for the attack.

Police said the gunmen, who had also broken into Force headquarters in the state, were armed with a variety of sophisticated weaponry and military hardware.

“The attackers’ attempt to gain access to the police arsenal at headquarters was fully and adequately resisted by the Nigerian Police Force,” the force said in a statement on Monday, adding that no lives were lost in the incident.

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma, center, inspects the scene of an attack at the police command headquarters in Owerri, Nigeria, on Monday, April 5, 2021.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently on a medical visit to the UK, described the simultaneous attacks as “an act of terrorism, “in a statement released by his spokesman Garba Shehu.

Buhari also ordered the country’s law enforcement agencies to detain fleeing prisoners and arrest perpetrators who “are believed to be deadly criminals,” the president said.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the separatist group IPOB, has denied the organization’s involvement in the attacks.

He told CNN: “We have nothing to do with what happened in Owerri, Imo State. Having said that, we acknowledge and acknowledge the anger, resentment and sense of injustice felt by many people, especially young people,” he said. saying.

“So what is happening now is that people are trying to avenge the death of their loved ones at the hands of the Nigerian security services. I think some people took it upon themselves to say ‘enough is enough, they are just inviting anarchy, Kanu added.

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The IPOB was outlawed and designated a terrorist organization in 2017 by the Nigerian government after its persistent demands for independence fueled periodic clashes with security forces, resulting in loss of life.

The Buhari regime has continued to clamp down on IPOB activities, fearing that an escalation of secessionism, particularly in the group’s strongholds in eastern Nigeria, could spark another civil war between Nigeria and Biafra.

In a 2016 report, Amnesty International accused Nigerian security forces of plotting the murder of dozens of unarmed pro-Biafra protesters. The allegations were denied by the Nigerian military at the time.
In 1967, a high-ranking military officer, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, led the breakaway republic of Biafra, a secessionist state created in southeastern Nigeria.

It led to a bitter civil war from 1967 to 1970 and more than a million people starved to death after the war.


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