Briton survives razor-blade attack in Somali jail

Prisoners at Mogadishu Central Prison in Somalia - archive shot Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Mogadishu Central Prison is used to house those awaiting trial as well as those sentenced

A British man being detained in a Somali jail has survived an attack by inmates armed with razor blades, a prison official has told the BBC.

Suspected jihadists at Mogadishu Central Prison were behind the attack on Anthony Thomas Cox, who works for a private security firm.

He was arrested 10 days ago at the main airport in the capital, Mogadishu, with tear-gas canisters in his suitcase.

He is to be charged with endangering the public by failing to disclose them.

'Tip-off foiled plot'

Mr Cox had suffered a minor cut to his neck during the attack, the deputy governor of Mogadishu Central Prison, Abdikarim Ali Afrah, said.

Image caption Abdikarim Ali Afrah said the British prisoner suffered a minor cut to his neck

Guards had managed to foil the attack thanks to a tip-off, he said.

"As one of the suspects was about to cut his [Mr Cox's] neck, we managed to stop him. He sustained a very minor cut. He is doing well," Mr Afrah told the BBC Somali Service.

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The two men involved were suspected Islamist militants, Mr Afrah said.

One is thought to a be a member of al-Shabab, the other is believed to belong to the Islamic State group - both are fighting Somalia's UN-backed government.

Embassy officials and staff from the US security company Bancroft, which employs Mr Cox, had visited the prison, Mr Afrah said at an earlier press conference.

Mr Cox had been catching a flight to Addis Ababa in neighbouring Ethiopia when security officials found several tear-gas canisters inside his suitcase.

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