Militants armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades launched a series of coordinated attacks overnight in southeastern Nigeria, targeting a prison where more than 1,800 inmates then managed to escape, authorities said Monday.

Iran Press/Africa: The attacks began around 2 a.m. in the town of Owerri in Imo state and lasted for about two hours.

Shooters also assaulted various other police and military buildings, authorities said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Nigeria inspector general of police blamed a paramilitary wing of a secessionist movement active in the region called the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

The ESN has said it is fighting to protect the Igbo people from foreign armed invaders killing their people.

Police said the militants were heavily armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices during the overnight violence.

“The attempt by the attackers to gain access to the police armory at the headquarters was totally and appropriately resisted,” a police statement said.


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