Africa

Nigeria hunt for Akure jail breakers

Nigeria map

Nigerian security forces hunting for 175 prisoners who escaped from a jail in the south-west of the country have recaptured 54 men, officials have said.

The prisoners escaped after more than 20 gunmen used dynamite to enter the medium security jail near a military base in Akure in Ondo state.

Two civilians were killed during the operation in the early hours of Sunday.

The prison authorities deny that Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group were behind the raid.

The group, which launched an insurgency in northern Nigeria in 2009, has been behind several prison raids in recent years.

Correspondents say the authorities sometimes imprison those suspected of having Boko Haram connections in other parts of Nigeria.

Last year, Boko Haram said it was behind the raid on a jail in central Kogi state, which neighbours Ondo, when armed men used bombs and heavy gunfire to free seven of its members, allowing many other prisoners to escape at the same time.

Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper reports that sources in Olokuta prison said the gunmen wanted to free suspects arrested during a bank robbery in Akure a year ago.

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