Nine inmates and one officer of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) have been killed in the attack on the custodial centre in Jos, Plateau State.
The spokesman for the NCoS Command in Plateau, Geoffrey Longdiem while briefing newsmen Monday in Jos, said one of the attackers was also killed in the gun duel with the officers.
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He also said 252 inmates escaped after the attack.
Jos Medium Security Custodial Centre, as of the time of attack, had 1,060 inmates, comprising 560 pre-trial detainees and 500 convicts, according to officials.
Longdiem said, “The attackers who stormed the Custodial Center at about 1720hrs on Sunday 28th November 2021 engaged the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) armed squad personnel in a fierce gun battle before breaking into the yard.
“Sadly, one of the NCoS Armed Squad personnel paid the supreme price in the encounter while nine inmates also lost their lives. Another staff of the Service was shot in the hand and six inmates were also injured in the attack.
“One of the gunmen trapped within the Medium Security Custodial Center, Jos after invading the facility has been identified as one of those killed in the gun duel.
“Some of the attackers and 262 inmates escaped in the melee before reinforcement could come from sister services. However, 10 have so far been recaptured leaving 252 at large.
Also, the head of the Jos custodial facility, Samuel Aguda yesterday fingered “suspected cattle rustlers” from Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State as those behind the siege on the prison.
“The attackers were suspected cattle rustlers from Barkin Ladi. Some of the inmates took part in attacking us because they gave them rifles from our armoury. Ten escapees were captured while two were brought back by their parents,” he said.
“We are hoping that with the combined efforts of security agencies, the escapees will be arrested. We have learned one or two lessons from this incident, we want to assure that this will not happen again,” he said.
Daily Trust reports that some community leaders and other residents of Jos have called on the federal and Plateau State governments to interrogate what happened at the custodial centre to unravel the mystery.
“The truth is that some hardened criminals have been set free by their collaborators and the aim is to continue to cause trouble in Jos and environs,” trader Mohammed Aliyu, said.
He wondered how the Jos prison was breached.
“The facility is sandwiched between the DSS Plateau Command, the Police Area Command, the police barracks, the Police ‘A’ Division, the Plateau Police Headquarters, the Plateau High court Complex and the Operation Safe Haven Headquarters. This is unbelievable and this cannot happen in a saner clime,” he said.
“The Controller-General of Corrections, Haliru Nababa condoled with the family and friends of the gallant officer, who paid the ultimate price in the encounter, promising that the death will not be in vain as all the perpetrators will be hunted and made to face the full wrath of the law.
“He thanked the officers and men of other security agencies for the assistance in bringing the situation under control and assured members of the public that the safety of inmates including their care and support, will continue to be a top priority of his administration.
From Ado Abubakar Musa, Dickson S. Adam & Yusuf Aminu, Jos