Suspected terrorists, bandits, armed robbers and other criminals were among the 240 inmates that escaped during a jailbreak at the Medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kabba, Kogi State late Sunday, Daily Trust learnt.
Two soldiers were reportedly killed and some prisons officials injured.
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The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) had confirmed the siege on the facility but did not give details of those behind the attack or identity of the suspects freed.
Its spokesman, Mr Francis Enobore, confirmed the incident on Monday in which he said the attack took place at about midnight on Sunday.
“The medium Security Custodial Centre in Kabba, Kogi State, has been attacked by yet to be identified gunmen and 240 inmates forcefully released,” he said.
He said many attackers armed with sophisticated rifles laid siege on the facility and engaged the guards in a fierce gun battle.
According to him, the Comptroller-General, Haliru Nababa had ordered a recapture procedure to be activated immediately and detailed investigations carried out.
It was learnt that 294 inmates were in custody out of which 224 were pre-trial detainees and 70 convicted inmates.
The gunmen reportedly destroyed three sides of the prison’s perimeter fence with explosives and then overrun the security operatives manning the facility.
‘Attackers high profile criminals’
Though leaders of the custodial facility said the attack was launched by yet to be identified gunmen, some sources said the assailants targeted the place to free select suspected criminals.
One of our sources said the custodial centre had various criminals such as Boko Haram, ISWAP, Ansaru, Darul-Salam, bandits, armed robbers and other sundry criminals.
Security operatives in Kogi State had at different times checkmated Boko Haram, Ansaru and other terrorists groups even as many of their cells were destroyed.
Kabba MSCC was established in 2008 with a capacity of 200.
This is not the first jailbreak in Kogi State.
For instance, the Koton Karfe prisons had been attacked and inmates set free in 2012, 2014 and 2016. In 2019, flood also compromised the facility leading to the escape of some inmates.
In all the cases, while some of the prisons returned on their volition, others could not be found till date.
We’re on trail of escapees
The Nigeria Police has confirmed the jailbreak in Kogi State.
The Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 8, Ayuba Edeh, who confirmed the jailbreak on Monday, said the State Commissioner of Police and other heads of security agencies had swung into action.
The Kogi State government had also confirmed the onslaught on the correctional centre in the state.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Kingsley Fanwo said security agents had rearrested some inmates.
He also said some of the inmates who fled the centre returned voluntarily.
Fanwo appealed to people of the state to volunteer information that would lead to the re-arrest of those behind the incident.