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Oyo: Gunmen free prisoners in Nigeria’s third major jailbreak in 2021

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GUNMEN broke into the correctional facility in Abolongo, Oyo State, on Friday night, releasing several inmates.

The gunmen had attacked the centre around 10 pm, using hand grenades to gain entry into the correctional facility.

Spokesperson of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) in Oyo State Olanrewaju Anjorin confirmed the attack in a report, saying that the authorities were assessing the situation to know the extent of the damage.

“The report is true. The correctional centre in Abolongo, Oyo town was attacked. Right now, the controller is there with other senior officers.

“They are assessing the situation, looking at the damage done to the facility. A detailed report will be made known later,” he said.

The ICIR contacted the Police spokesperson in Oyo State Adewale Osifeso to obtain their own findings and  attempts made to re-arrest the escaped prisoners.

He did not take calls and failed to reply to text messages at the time of filing this report.

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This is the third jailbreak in the country this year. A report published in July revealed that at least 4,307 inmates had escaped from prisons since 2017, which was based on compiled media reports.

The first major jailbreak this year occurred when gunmen attacked a prison in Owerri, Imo State, in April, freeing more than 1,800 inmates before razing several Police outposts.

Last month, heavily armed gunmen raided a correctional facility in Kabba, Kogi State, blowing up the perimeter fence and freeing 266 inmates.

A soldier and a Police officer were killed in the attack while two prison officials were missing.

The prison service had initially put the number of escaped prisoners at 240 but reviewed the number to 266.

There have been a handful of security facilities, especially Police stations, that were attacked in a similar fashion since 2020.

Nigerian prisons hold 70,000 inmates but only about 20,000 have been convicted, according to estimates by NCoS.

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Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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