By Olarewaju Kola
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) - More than 600 inmates escaped a Nigerian prison in the nation’s capital during a terror attack, an official said Wednesday.
Defense Minister Bashir Magashi said assailants, suspected to be from the Boko Haram terror group, invaded the Kuje Prison in Abuja late Tuesday with explosives and fired shots.
"They came in with high explosives, they attempted the initial entry with a very high explosive, but they were unsuccessful," he told reporters.
Magashi said military troops responded to the scene while the terrorists were attacking another section of the prison with high-caliber explosives.
"Right now, we have retrieved about 300, out of about 600 inmates that escaped their cells,” with some caught in nearby bushes hours after the attack.
The minister could not confirm the number of fatalities in the attack.
Residents said they were gripped with fear as gunshots and explosives continued late Tuesday.
Nigerians on social media said the attack accentuates the dire security situation in the country.