ABUJA (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked a police station in the Nigerian capital on Monday, killing two policemen and allowing 30 detainees to escape, the most brazen challenge to the city’s security forces in months.
Police were unable to identify the men behind the early-morning raid on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad building on the edge of Abuja, police spokesman Frank Mba said.
“Policemen on duty responded swiftly and engaged the gunmen in a gun battle that lasted for some minutes, at the end of which the gunmen were successfully repelled,” he said.
Police tracked down 25 of the detainees who had fled and returned them to the cells, he said.
A Reuters reporter on the scene saw heavy security near the police station. Two armored vehicles were parked outside its high metal gates and 40 armed police and a dozen pick-up trucks guarded the area.
Nigeria’s security forces are fighting an Islamist insurgency in the north, massive oil theft by armed gangs in the southeast and a spate of robberies and kidnappings.
The attack came a day after two suicide bombs killed at least 11 people in a church in a military barracks in northern Nigeria, where Islamist sect Boko Haram is waging a campaign of violence.
Additional reporting by Felix Onuah; Reporting by Joe Brock; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer