, NIAMEY, Jun 2 – Armed inmates in Niamey’s main prison killed two guards, Niger officials said, a week after twin suicide bombings claimed 20 lives in the west African country.
Three inmates charged with terrorist offences had tried to break out of the prison, prosecutor Ibrahim Wazir Moussa said on state television.
“They attacked the guards; the guards fought back,” he added.
Two of the guards had been killed and another three wounded, one of them seriously, he said.
Justice Minister Marou Amadou, who also acts as government spokesman, told AFP the three inmates had been overpowered.
A resident in the district reported shooting from the prison from early afternoon. “Everyone has locked themselves in,” he said
Another said: “It’s panic everywhere. We were very frightened.”
Saturday’s attack came a week after twin suicide bombings on May 23, the first such attacks in Niger’s history.
An attack on the Agadez army base left 18 soldiers and one civilian dead, while a near-simultaneous bombing at French group Areva’s uranium mine killed one and injured 14.
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.