Suspected members of the extremist sect, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihadl, popularly called Boko Haram on Friday stormed a prison in Borno state, killing two guards and freeing the inmates.
A police spokesman for Borno state said 23 suspects had since been arrested.
“The Boko Haram first attacked the Banki police station but they were repelled…They then went to Kumshe, a nearby town, and attacked the prison lockup killing two officials before setting all the inmates free,” he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although Boko Haram has been blamed for several prison breaks in the past.
The group has said it is fighting to free imprisoned members and to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria – a country nearly evenly split between Muslims and Christians.
Months of gun and bomb attacks blamed on Boko Haram have killed hundreds since the movement started its uprising more than two years ago. The violence has intensified in the past two weeks.
Gunmen threw bombs and opened fire on a cattle market in Potiskum, on Wednesday, killing at least 60 people, a spokesman for the Yobe state governor said.
It was not clear if the killers were Islamists or a criminal gang.