Eight shot dead in failed Nigeria jail break

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LAGOS, Sep 11 (Reuters) Eight inmates were shot dead and 18 others wounded when hundreds of prisoners tried to break out of a Nigerian jail today, police said.

Some inmates smashed holes in the walls while others tried to scale over them after overpowering the guards at Agodi prison in the southwestern state of Oyo.

''My men cordoned off the prison area and in the process of stopping the inmates from escaping, eight of them were shot dead and 18 were wounded,'' Oyo state police chief Udom Ekpoudom told Reuters. Four prison officials were also wounded.

''None of the inmates was however able to escape and the situation has since been brought under control.'' The state-run News Agency of Nigeria quoted the state's chief prison officer as saying the inmates were protesting against poor medical facilities.

Africa's most populous country saw a spate of jail breaks last year that forced the authorities to sack some top prison officials.

Prisons in Nigeria are overcrowded and squalid. Most of the 45,000 prisoners have never been convicted of any crime because of Nigeria's inefficient legal system.

Reuters TB VP0020

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