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Boko Haram attacks Borno prison, frees inmates

Gunmen believed to be Boko Haram have again attacked the hilly Gwoza town, southeast of Borno, broke into a prison in a bloody operation, which led to the death of at least one person while unspecified numbers of inmates were freed.

Sources said the gunmen numbering over 10 stormed the Gwoza satellite prison between 7 and 8pm on Thursday with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a development which caused confusion and anxiety among prisons officials and warders as everybody scampered for safety.

However in the ensuing confusion, the gunmen were said to have broken into the prison and freed all the inmates. The Thursday attack on Gwoza prison came barely 10 days after similar attack was carried out by unknown gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram on the Gwoza Divisional Police Headquarters, leaving no fewer than eight persons including police men dead.

Residents said the prison building located near the palace of Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Shehu Idrissa Timta, was destroyed by the explosion while little resistance came from the prison security men.

“The attack lasted one hour and nobody can say precisely how the attackers came but people said they were many and may be more than 10. We were just hearing blast and gunshots and I think the prison warders couldn’t resist them. Everybody in town was afraid and we had to hurry home.

The Borno State Command of the Nigeria Prison Service could not be reached for confirmation as at press time even as there was no official statement from either the police or the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the incident. Gwoza, a border town with Republic of Cameroon, is 135 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and hotbed of the insurgency, which has claimed over 2000 lives since the first uprising in 2009.
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