LAGOS - Nigeria's Islamist sect Boko Haram stormed a prison in their northeastern heartland on Sunday, freeing 40 inmates, police said, in the latest of a string of attacks blamed on the group.

"There was an attack on the Yobe prison this morning, the Boko Haram sect attacked the prison through the Emir palace, 40 inmates escaped," said Patrick Egbuniwe, Yobe State police commissioner.

He said two of the attackers were shot dead and some policemen were injured. Gunbattles between sect members and security forces in Yobe's capital Damaturu killed 40 people on Tuesday last week.

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