Unidentified gunmen have launched a devastating attack on a correctional facility (prisons) in Owerri, Imo State Capital, torching it and freeing about 1, 844 prisoners.
The armed men, suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its security arm, ESN, also attacked the state police headquarters.
The gunmen allegedly used dynamites during the operations.
Police have blamed recent attacks on police facilities and personnel in the South-South and South-East on Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members with some suspects already arrested.
The Public Relations Officer of the Correctional Centre, Mr Francis Enobore said in a statement: “The Owerri Custodial Centre in Imo State has been attacked by unknown gunmen and forcefully released a total of 1,844 inmates in custody.
“The attackers who stormed the facility at about 0215hrs on Monday 5th April, 2021, gained entrance into the yard by using explosives to blast the administrative block. 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack.”
According to reports, the gunmen had arrived at the prisons in several Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna buses armed with sophisticated weapons and engaged the security personnel on duty in a gun battle.
They also detonated the explosive to gain entrance.
Meanwhile, the Acting Controller-General of Correctional Centres (prisons), Mr John Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident, while the centre and other security organizations, have commenced a search and recover operations to arrest the fleeing inmates.
He urged the public to volunteer useful information that may lead to the arrest of the inmates and the gunmen.