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NCS confirms almost 2,000 inmates escaped during Imo prison break

Authorities have commenced a search operation to recapture the fleeing inmates.

The attack was carried out in the early hours of Monday, April 5, 2021 [Twitter/@Real_AmakaIke]

A large number of gunmen attacked the facility around 2 am, arriving in numerous Hilux pick-up vans and Sienna buses armed with sophisticated weapons.

Francis Enobore, the spokesperson for the acting NCS Controller-General, John Mrabure, said in a statement the attackers gained entrance into the centre by using explosives to blast the administrative block.

They also engaged in a gun fight with security personnel, but the NCS did not report any casualties.

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"As at the last count, 6 inmates have so far voluntarily returned to the facility, while 35 inmates refused to escape from custody during the attack," Enobore said.

Mrabure has ordered a comprehensive investigation into the incident and, in collaboration with other security organisations, commenced a search operation to recapture the fleeing inmates.

The NCS boss appealed to members of the public to volunteer useful information to facilitate the recovery effort.

The gunmen also attacked the headquarters of the Imo State Police Command, setting fire to the building and dozens of vehicles parked inside the premises.

A constable sustained a minor bullet wound to his shoulder, but no other casualty was reported from the attack on the Police facility.

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Even though the NCS described the attackers as 'unknown gunmen' the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, blamed the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The group's Eastern Security Network (ESN) has been the alleged perpetrator of a string of attacks on security forces that have left dozens of officers dead in the southeast region over the past few weeks.

The IGP said the group launched an unsuccessful attack to raid the armoury of the facility.

In response to the attack, the Police boss ordered the immediate deployment of additional units of Police Mobile Force (PMF) and other Police Tactical Squads to Imo State to strengthen security.

Before the IGP's statement, IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, distanced the group from the attack.

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He said the group was formed on the principle of peace and would not compromise its principles.

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