'22 escaped Niger prison during unrest'
03 June 2013, 09:42
Niamey - Several "terrorists" were among 22
inmates who escaped a prison in the Niger capital Niamey during unrest in which
three guards were killed, the government said on Sunday.
They included Cheibane Ould Hama of Mauritania, who was
convicted of killing four Saudis and a US citizen, Justice Minister Marou
Amadou told a press briefing, adding that Hama was "actively sought".
Amadou, who also acts as government spokesperson, confirmed
that inmates facing terrorism charges had killed three guards during the
shootout on Saturday.
The breakout happened a little over a week after twin
suicide bombings claimed 20 lives in the north of the west African country on
Two jihadist groups - Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West
Africa (Mujao) and Signatories in Blood - claimed the attacks, saying they were
in retaliation for Niger's intervention in neighbouring Mali.
The escaped prisoners are "a danger for the
region", a Malian security source said.
"It has emerged from initial investigations at the site
that the aggressors obviously benefited from outside complicity regarding the
weapon introduced into the prison," Amadou said.