More than a hundred prisoners escape Nigeria jail
Feb 16, 2012, 14:22 GMT
Abuja - More than a hundred prisoners escaped from a jail in central Nigeria, officials told dpa Thursday, after gunmen claiming to be members of radical Islamist group Boko Haram shot dead a security guard.
The incident, which took place late Wednesday in Koton Karfe, in central Kogi State, lasted about 30 minutes. According to witnesses it was carried out by 20 militiamen armed with bombs and guns.
'They opened fire on one of the security men at the entrance of the prison and killed him on the spot,' said witness Mariamu Bello.
Inuwa Baba, another witness, said they shot randomly into the air to scare away guards.
However, prison officials said they did not believe Boko Haram was behind the jailbreak, in which they said 119 prisoners escaped.
'Not every jailbreak is perpetrated by the sect. Criminals are now keying into the nation's security challenge to cause havoc,' said a prison officer who asked to remain anonymous.
According to the security officer, the prison had been 'in dire need of renovation.'
Boko Haram has attacked prisons on several occasions to free its members, and also managed to help Kabiru Sokoto - the main suspect in a Christmas Day church bombing - escape police custody, although he has since been rearrested.