Unknown Gunmen sang and danced unity songs for 30 minutes before attacking Imo prison — Government House guard

Unknown Gunmen, who attacked the jail in Owerri, danced and sang solidarity songs before liberating many prisoners and overpowering soldiers,a safety officer at the Imo Government House said.

“The military men that contacted to save the situation were overpowered by the heavy weapons of the men clad in black attire.

“They also burnt some vehicles parked at the entrance of the command headquarters,” said the guard, adding that the attackers danced and sang solidarity songs for at least 30 minutes before attacking the facilities.

The security guard attached to the government house, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the gunmen struck their targets with dynamites.

According to NAN, as of 9 a.m on Monday, military personnel and other security operatives barricaded Okigwe road where the police command and the prison are situated.

Multimedia and witnesses’ accounts on social media said the attackers struck the prison and police department shortly after midnight, freeing a yet-unconfirmed number of inmates and suspects. Heavy gunfire also rang through the area, with an account saying hundreds of inmates might have escaped.

Senior government officials have been reportedly told to shelter-in-place due to the proximity of the scene to the government house.

It was unclear how many prisoners escaped, but Amnesty International said over the weekend that Owerri Correctional Centre had 2,156 inmates as against its installed capacity of 548 people.

The level of destruction and casualty figures were not immediately available. Pictures shared on Twitter showed heavy smokes billowing from what posters said were the scenes of the attack that lasted for more than two hours.