Nigerian Prison Attack Frees 1,800; Buhari Labels it Terrorism

An attack by suspected militants on a prison in southeastern Nigeria was an act of terrorism, President Muhammadu Buhari said.

The attackers targeted a police headquarters and a jail in Imo state late on Monday, the police said in a statement. The raid was carried out by members of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network, using “sophisticated weapons” including rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, the police said.

More than 1,800 prisoners were freed in the assault, ThisDay, a Lagos-based newspaper, reported on Tuesday.

Nigerian Prison Attack Frees 1,800; Buhari Labels it Terrorism

“The president directed security and intelligence agencies in the state and the geo-political zone to fully mobilize and go after the terrorists, apprehend them and get them punished under the full weight of the law,” the presidency said in a statement.

The attack adds to growing insecurity in Africa’s biggest oil producer. The government is already struggling to deal with a decade-long Islamist insurgency in the northeast and increasing clashes between nomadic herders and crop farmers.

IPOB formed the Eastern Security Network in December to protect the oil-rich southeastern region against incursions by ethnic Fulani herders it accuses of grazing on farmlands and committing crimes against local residents.

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