TWENTY-FIVE Islamic militants serving long jail terms have escaped from a prison in the Central Asian state of Tajikistan that borders Afghanistan, killing five guards, authorities said.

The inmates broke free late Sunday from a detention centre of Tajikistan’s State Committee of National Security in the capital Dushanbe, attacking guards and seizing their arms, a representative of the committee¬†said.

“As a result, one of the guards was killed, 25 armed inmates escaped from jail, changing into fatigues,” the official said, citing a statement.

Official statements described the inmates as Islamic militants who were serving sentences ranging from 30 years to life.

Following their prison break, the inmates raided a nearby detention centre of the justice ministry in the early hours of Monday.

They “killed four guards and fled in a vehicle in an an unknown direction,” the official said, adding that authorities and law enforcement agencies were on high alert as they sought to recapture the runaways.

Tajikistan, where a bloody civil war between Islamist forces and backers of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, shares a porous 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Afghanistan.