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Police station attacked, prisoners freed in southeast Nigeria, a day after jailbreak

Published: Updated:

Gunmen stormed a police station in southeast Nigeria and freed prisoners, a day after the restive region was hit by a prison breakout blamed on separatists, police and local media said on Wednesday.

The police station in the town of Ehime Mbano in Imo state was set ablaze on Tuesday after it was raided by gunmen, police spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu said.

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“I can confirm to you that another police facility was attacked by bandits,” Ikeokwu told AFP.

He said three vehicles were burned, but did not say if there were casualties.

Local media said some detainees were freed by the gunmen.

Southeast Nigeria has seen an upsurge in attacks targeting security forces in violence that officials blame on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group seeking independence of the indigenous Igbo people.

The attack came a day after a prison and the police headquarters in Imo’s state capital Owerri were attacked and 1,844 inmates freed.

The armed forces said Wednesday a joint operation was underway in the volatile region “to flush out the miscreants.”

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited the state on Tuesday to assess the damage in Owerri.

“Anyone who perpetrates violence does not represent the progressive-mindedness of the good people of this state and this zone,” Osinbajo said.

“And I call on all of us to come together to resist any attempt to turn the progress and peace that this zone is set to experience to conflict and disruption.”

IPOB has denied the accusations but the police declared a clampdown on the group.

Calls for a separate state of Biafra in the south are a sensitive subject in Nigeria, after a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.