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600 inmates, including Boko Haram suspects missing after attack on Kuje prison

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OVER 600 inmates have escaped following the attack on the Kuje prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday night.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, disclosed this while giving an update on the attack in a chat with journalists on Wednesday.

Belgore noted that Boko Haram terrorists, who came to rescue their members, were responsible for the prison attack.

He added that they were equipped with sophisticated explosives which aided their entry into the prison facility.

“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,” he said.

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Belgore also noted that 300 of the escapees had been recaptured while others are still on the run.

“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,“ he said.

Also speaking to journalists, Minister of Defence Bashir Magashi said Boko Haram terrorists were responsible for the attack.

The minister said all the suspected Boko Haram members detained in the prison disappeared after the attack.

“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,” he said.

He said the Boko Haram suspects were about 64 in number.

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“I think they are about 64 in the prison and none of them now is available. They have all escaped,” he said.

Magashi noted that the specific figure of escapees would probably be communicated before the end of the day.

The Kuje prison facility was attacked by gunmen on Tuesday night.

At least seven vehicles belonging to the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) were destroyed during the attack.

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Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via vopara@icirnigeria.org

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