By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ABUJA, NIGERIA (Worthy News) – Nigerian Christians expressed concern about their safety Thursday after the Islamic State group claimed an attack on a prison in Nigeria’s capital which freed nearly 900 inmates, including 60 of its members.
“Amongst those freed in Abuja were also the most notorious Boko Haram terrorists,” added Christian researcher Paul Jongas, referring to another Islamist terror group operating in the African nation.
Jongas and his family fled northern Nigeria, where they say they faced persecution from Islamist militants.
“In total, some 600 suspected terrorists escaped, which is a big threat to Christians in Nigeria,” Jongas told Worthy News from Abuja.
Nigerian security forces on Thursday continued to search for at least 400 escaped prisoners who are still at large, reports said.
While Nigeria saw multiple jailbreaks in recent years, the attack on Tuesday night was the first in the nation’s capital within that period after what analysts say was a “failure of intelligence.”
The Islamic State West Africa Province said in a statement that the attack on the Kuje prison was carried out in 50 minutes by three groups. One attacked the prison’s gate, another stormed the prison, and the third blocked the road leading to the facility.
The group said the attack was part of the Islamic State group’s campaign to free its members from prisons.
Authorities said the extremist rebels were “very determined” and launched the daring attack on the Kuje prison with “very high-grade explosives.”
They killed one prison guard and freed 879 inmates, including 64 of their members whom authorities believe they had “specifically” come to rescue.
People living near the prison said told the neighborhood was rocked by gunfire and explosions late Tuesday night.
Last year, Nigeria accounted for nearly 80 percent of Christian deaths worldwide, with more than 4,650 believers killed, according to advocacy group Open Doors. Islamist militants and fighters killed many.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who won elections in March 2015, has come under mounting pressure to improve security for Christians.
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