Kuje prison attack occurred despite major security fortification

Mr Success

The terrorist attack on the Kuje prison in Abua occurred despite the fortification of the prison and other prisons nationwide, interior minister Rauf Argegbesola said on Thursday.

Mr Aregbesola, in a statement by his spokesperson, Sola Fasure, said the fortification of the prisons was put in place after an attack on a prison in Abolongo, Oyo State last October.

“After the Abolongo, Oyo State, attack on a correctional facility, in October last year, it became apparent that a new form of attack for which our system was not prepared for had emerged,” the minister said.

He said Nigerian prisons were “primed to prevent and foil internal disturbance and riots, not external attacks/invasion, since the facilities were usually built around police and military formations.”

However, after the Oyo prison attack during which hundreds of prisoners were freed, the minister “directed that the NCoS urgently work with other security agencies to fortify all correctional centres in the country and insulate them against future attacks, among other measures introduced.”

“This was carried out, as well-armed soldiers, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers were drafted to our facilities nationwide, to secure them against further attacks.”

Mr Aregbesola said that the fortification of the prisons helped to repel several attacks on them.

“Several but unsuccessful attempts were made to attack our facilities since then, as the armed guards repelled them on each occasion.”

Rauf Aregbesola, Nigerian Minister of Interior.Rauf Aregbesola, Nigerian Minister of Interior.

The Kuje Attack

In the statement, Mr Aregbesola also claimed that security forces guarding the Kuje custodial centre inflicted a ‘heavy casualty on the terrorists that attacked the prison on Tuesday.

“Regrettably, given their unprecedented number, they overpowered the officers on duty,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack which residents of the area said was executed by about a hundred gunmen.

Over 800 prisoners were freed by the gunmen including 64 members of the terror group Boko Haram.

While about 400 of the escapees have been rearrested, over 400 others are still at large, officials said on Wednesday.

More details later…

Premises of Kuje Med-ium Prison invaded by suspected Boko-Haram terrorists.Premises of Kuje Med-ium Prison invaded by suspected Boko-Haram terrorists.

Read the full statement by the minister’s spokesperson below.

ARMED INVASION OF KUJE CORRECTIONAL CENTRE

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has been briefed on the full scale armed invasion of the medium security correctional facility in Kuje, Abuja, by gunmen late Tuesday, in which some of the inmates escaped.

The security officers on duty fiercely engaged them and inflicted a heavy casualty on them. Regrettably, given their unprecedented number, they overpowered the officers on duty. One of the security personnel that engaged the attackers was unfortunately killed. May his soul rest in peace. Calm and normalcy have since been returned to the Centre.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the Boko Haram sect may have been responsible for the attack. The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), in conjunction with other security agencies, are working to bring back in the escaped inmates.

After the Abolongo, Oyo State, attack on a correctional facility, in October last year, it became apparent that a new form of attack for which our system was not prepared for had emerged. Our system was primed to prevent and foil internal disturbance and riots, not external attacks/invasion, since the facilities were usually built around police and military formations.

The minister then directed that the NCoS urgently work with other security agencies to fortify all correctional centres in the country and insulate them against future attacks, among other measures introduced.

This was carried out, as well-armed soldiers, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) officers were drafted to our facilities nationwide, to secure them against further attacks. Several but unsuccessful attempts were made to attack our facilities since then, as the armed guards repelled them on each occasion.

We are working with the Ministry of Defence and the Office of the National Security Adviser as well as other intelligence and security agencies to ensure that the attackers and the escaped inmates are captured and returned to custody. As we speak, security personnel are combing the whole area, up to a distance of 100 kilometres radius, looking for them. All checkpoints nationwide have been put on alert. More than 400 of them have been brought in and more are still coming.

We appeal to all residents to be calm but vigilant. Security is a collective work between government and the citizens. Kindly therefore report all suspicious individuals and activities to the nearest security agency around you. We appeal also to doctors and medical workers to treat and then immediately report anyone with gunshot wounds to the law enforcement agency.

The Minister has directed that all correctional facilities in the country be fortified; that all personnel be vigilant and alert, to avoid recurrence.

The Minister has directed that full investigation into the incident be carried out and he should be briefed as soon as possible. If any complicity is established, the Minister has promised that appropriate actions would be taken.

The Minister has pledged to continue to strengthen all correctional facilities and keep our people safe at all times.

Signed
Sola Fasure
Media Adviser to
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Minister of Interior



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