Boko Haram storms jail and releases 40 inmates
Nigeria’s Islamist sect Boko Haram has stormed a prison in its north-eastern heartland, freeing 40 inmates, police said, in the latest of a string of attacks blamed on the group.
“There was an attack on the Yobe prison this morning. The Boko Haram sect attacked the prison through the Emir palace, 40 inmates escaped,” Patrick Egbuniwe, Yobe state police commissioner, said yesterday.
“They attacked with rifles, the police and the joint taskforce confronted them, and the Boko Haram members that were shot were carried away by the sect.”
He said two of the attackers were shot dead and some policemen were injured. Gun battles between sect members and security forces in Yobe’s capital, Damaturu, killed 40 people on Tuesday last week.
Boko Haram has been blamed for several prison breaks in the past and one of the group’s few demands has been that its imprisoned members should be freed. The sect, which is based in the remote north-east, has rapidly overtaken militants in the oil-producing southern Niger Delta as the country’s biggest security threat.
Months of gun and bomb attacks blamed on Boko Haram have killed hundreds since the movement started its uprising more than two years ago.
It is fighting to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria – a country nearly evenly split between Muslims and Christians.
Boko Haram yesterday also confirmed that a senior member blamed for a deadly Christmas Day church bombing has been killed by security forces.
A statement said the group was happy about Habibu Bama’s “martyrdom.”
Bama, a former soldier, died after sustaining injuries from a gun battle between security forces and the sect last week.