About 300 inmates of the Kuje Correctional Centre suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist group may have escaped from the facility when it came under attack on Tuesday by the sect.
This much was made known by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Dr Shuaib Belgore, who revealed that over 600 of the inmates fled the prisons during the attack.
The Kuje Custodial Centre located in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory came under heavy attack late Tuesday night, as residents in the area confirmed hearing sounds of gunshots and sounds.
He also revealed that the attack was carried out by the Boko Haram terrorists who came specifically for their members in the custody.
According to him, however about 300 escaped inmates had been recaptured, while 300 were still at large.
Speaking while addressing journalists, he also said an operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps was killed during the attack.
He said, “There have been several attacks on our facilities most of them are being repelled, but every now and then, there is one that they have succeeded. In this one they came very determined with high explosives.
“The initial entry attempt was unsuccessful, then they attacked another section of the wall with higher grade explosives which brought the wall down.
“The forces on the ground did everything they could to repel them but the number they came with was high which they were not able to defend against. They kept on fighting gallantly unfortunately the breach happened. Reinforcement came when they were halfway through it. They were eventually repelled.
“At the time they came in they killed one NSCDC operative while trying to save the situation. The inmates here are 994.
“We understand they are Boko Haram terrorists and came specifically for their conspirators. Many of them have returned, some were retrieved from the bushes they were hiding, right now we have retrieved about 300 out of about 600 that got out of the jail.”
Also speaking to reporters on the incident, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, claimed that about 64 Boko Haram suspects detained at the Kuje prison in Abuja may have escaped after the Tuesday night attack on the prison facilities.
While taking an assessment tour of the facility, the minister said, “The attack started around 10:30pm. They came in their numbers gained entrance into the prison and they released some of the inmates and which we are now following to see the kind of inmates that they have released.
“Very soon, we will give you the correct figure of the inmates that were taken. Aside that, we are trying to see what we can do to ensure that all escapees are returned back.
“The prison is accommodating 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.
“I think everything is under control. The people who came to do this activity, from the records, we believe they belong to a particular group. Most likely, they are Boko Haram members because we have sizeable number of Boko Haram suspects in detention, and presently we cannot locate any of them.
“I think they are about 64 in the prison and none of them now is available they have all escaped.”