More than 400 prisoners missing

People stand outside the gates of the prison after being destroyed in the attack

More than 400 inmates are missing after a raid on a prison in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, officials said.

Four inmates, a security guard and several attackers were killed after the prison was targeted Tuesday night, according to officials.

Dozens of members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram are on the run, the defense minister said.

Since 2020, more than 5,000 inmates have escaped from prisons in Nigeria.

Loud explosions and gunfire were heard near the Kuje medium-security prison on the outskirts of the capital when the attack took place on Tuesday night.

“We heard gunfire in the street. We thought it was armed robbers,” a local resident told AFP. “The first explosion happened after the shooting. Then the second went off, then the third.”

In addition to the four prisoners killed, 16 others were injured in the attack, Nigeria’s correctional institution said.

A number of high-profile detainees, including suspected militants and jailed politicians, were inside the facility when the attack took place. But the Department of Corrections said the jailed senior officials were not among the escapees.

There were nearly 1,000 prisoners in the facility at the time of the attack, according to officials. Almost all of them escaped initially, but 443 more were later recaptured.

Defense Minister Bashir Matthias told reporters that Boko Haram militants “probably” carried out the attack and that 64 imprisoned jihadists had escaped from prison.

“None of them were in jail, they all escaped,” he said.

Many in Nigeria have described the latest attack in the capital as another sign of worsening insecurity in the country.

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