ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian police have recaptured 54 of 175 prisoners who escaped from a jail in the southwest town of Akure after it was attacked by gunmen, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.
Gunmen shot dead two civilians and then used explosives to raid the Olokuta prison in Ondo state on Sunday.
"As of yesterday, police have apprehended 54 of the fleeing prisoners at various locations in Akure and neighboring communities," police spokesman Wale Ogodo told Reuters.
Islamist sect Boko Haram and al Qaeda-linked group Ansaru have been behind several prison raids in recent years. But Ogodo said the last prison break-out not the work of insurgents.
"It was pure jail-break and has nothing to do with Boko Haram. We suspect the gang that attacked the prison was trying to free one of its leaders," Ogodo said.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and biggest oil producer, suffers from widespread crime and corruption. In southern states such as Ondo, kidnapping and other violent crimes by armed gangs are common.
(Reporting by Anamesere Igboeroteonwu; Writing by Joe Brock; editing by Mark Heinrich)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp