The Department of State Security has said that an attempted jail break by an inmate its headquarters in Abuja was foiled on Sunday morning.
Earlier media reports had said that sustained gunshots were heard around the DSS headquarters and the entrance to the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock in Abuja, leading to speculations of a possible terrorist attack.
However, a statement by the DSS spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, explained that the gunshots heard followed attempts by a detainee to disarm his handler and escape and that shots by operatives of the Service and nearby military troops brought the situation under control.
The statement read:
“At 0715 hours, the Service suspect handler went to the detention facility within the Headquarters to feed the suspects. One of the suspects attempted to disarm him by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff. His attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility who fired some shots to warn and deter others.
The gun shots attracted the attention of the military with whom we have an understanding of mutual assistance in the event of any threat. The Army immediately deployed a team to reinforce our perimeter guards to forestall any external collaborators. The situation has since been brought under control.”
According to the agency, the situation has since been brought under control, but residents of Aso Drive, close to the DSS headquarters, do not believe the account of the Service, especially with the sustained nature of the shooting.
Military patrol vehicles with troops quickly mobilized to the area just as helicopters were deployed to the skies.
However, a visit to the DSS headquarters and the Presidential Villa area in the afternoon did not show any indication of any serious breach of security. Security had not been beefed up either around the agency’s facilities and the gate leading to the Presidential Villa did not witness any extra security activity.