Niger's interior and public security minister says gunmen attacked a prison that holds jihadists and were repelled by security forces.

Mohamed Bazoum said at least one attacker blew himself up early Monday at Koutoukale prison, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, Niamey. Bazoum said a number of extremists, notably from Mali, are held in the prison.

The attack comes days after suspected extremists abducted an American aid worker, killing two people before fleeing with the man toward the border with Mali.

Landlocked Niger is surrounded by instability and threats of extremist violence by Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgents to the south, al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists in Mali to the west and jihadists in Libya to the north.

In 2013, Boko Haram attacked a prison in Niamey.