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Gunmen raid prison near Nigeria capital, free hundreds

ABUJA (AFP) – Gunmen used explosives to blast into a prison near Nigeria’s capital late Tuesday, freeing hundreds of inmates but prison authorities said they had recaptured most of those who escaped.

Residents in the area reported hearing loud explosions and gunfire late Tuesday near the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, on the outskirts of Abuja, and security forces had cordoned off the area early yesterday.

One security official was killed when the gunmen breached the jail using explosives, correctional services spokesman Abubakar Umar said.

“Some of the men in custody escaped. We were able to recapture many of them this morning. More than 300 escaped, but we have recaptured close to 300,” he told AFP.

He said prison officials were still determining how many were still missing. Former top police commander Abba Kyari, who was being held in Kuje awaiting trial on drug smuggling charges, was still in custody, he said.

“We heard shooting on my street. We thought it was armed robbers,” one local resident said.

“The first explosion came after the shooting. Then a second one sounded and then a third.”