Less than 18 hours after gunmen attacked the advance convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, terrorists on Tuesday night attacked a Nigerian prison, freeing more than 600 inmates, mainly detained Boko Haram fighters.
More than 300 terrorists were on Wednesday reported to have attacked the medium security prison located in Kuje, 34km from the capital Abuja.
Confirmed reports said the terrorists entered the prison from the back side and planted bombs around it.
Interior Permanent Secretary Shuaibu Belgore, who visited the prison after the attack, on Wednesday confirmed that more than 300 of the inmates had been freed.
He said the prison housed 994 inmates and that the attackers, who he suspected were Boko Haram terrorists, aimed to rescue their fighters.
One person died and three others were injured in the attack.
Nigerian Correctional Service spokesman Ahmed Umar said normality had been restored by security agencies.
“I wish to confirm that about [10pm] some yet to be identified gunmen attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje in [Abuja],” he said.
“However, men of the Armed Squad of the Nigerian Correctional Service and other security agencies attached to the custodial centre have responded and calm has been restored…”
Defence Minister Bashir Magashi said none of the Boko Haram suspects detained at the Kuje prison were found after the attack.
Came n their numbers
After taking a tour of the facility, the minister said: “The attack started around 10.30pm. They came in their numbers, gained [entry] into the prison and … released some of the inmates.”
“The prison [housed] about 994 inmates and over 600 escaped. Many people have been recaptured and brought back to the prison. Maybe by the close of the day, more will have been captured and returned,” Magashi.
Meanwhile, security was tightened in most parts of Kuje on Wednesday, with a heavy deployment of armed personnel.
Armoured tanks were positioned around the Kuje prison junction, while various teams of security personnel in siren-blaring vehicles were seen patrolling the area.
All banks and some schools in the area remained shut.
The attack on the prison was one of several that have happened recently, including one on the advance team of the convoy of President Buhari on July 4.
The convoy was on its way to Daura, Katsina, the home town of the president, where he was to celebrate the Eid-El-Kabir Muslim festival on July 9.
“The attackers opened fire on the convoy from ambush positions but were repelled by the military, police and DSS personnel,” presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said on Wednesday.
Opened fire on the convoy
“Two persons in the convoy are receiving treatment for the minor injuries they suffered. All the other personnel, staff, and vehicles made it safely to Daura.”
He said the vehicles were carrying an advance team of security guards, as well as protocol and media officers ahead of the president’s trip.
Meanwhile, the orgy of terrorist killings continued in Katsina, with police confirming the killing of a senior police officer and area commander in Dutsinma Aminu Umar in an ambush.
Mr Gambo Isah, the spokesperson of the command, said another policeman died in the incident as the police battled terrorists numbering over 300 on motorcycles.
The attackers, armed with AK-47 rifles and general-purpose machine guns, ambushed a convoy and opened fire.
“The late area commander with members of his team were on a clearance operation of recalcitrant bandits/terrorists in Zakka forest when they were ambushed by the terrorists,’’ he said.
The Katsina state government also reported that terrorists burnt down two primary health centres in Batsari area.
Dr Shamsudeen Yahaya, the executive secretary of the Katsina State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said 69 healthcare centres had been temporarily closed as a result of insecurity.
“Most of the health facilities in the area were taken over by the miscreants, and the solar refrigerators provided in such facilities have been converted to use by the bandits,’’ he reported.
On June 29, terrorists invaded a mining site at Ajata-Aboki in Niger state and killed 31 soldiers, 13 policemen and 15 civilians.