Eight Prisoners Die In Attempted Jailbreak

By Samuel Malik, Abuja

An attempted jailbreak in Calabar Prison, Cross River State, has left eight prisoners dead and 17 injured following a gun duel between inmates and security operatives outside the prison.

According to a press release issued by the Nigerian Prison Service spokesman, Enobore Francis, the unfortunate incident happened on February 20 when inmates awaiting trial, having been let out to take their bathes, complained that they were tired of being locked up and wanted to be taken to court.

“The staff on duty appealed to them to exercise patience for courts to resume seating as they were currently on strike but this fell on deaf ears,’ Francis said.

“Other prisoners soon joined in the agitation to be taken to court and in a spontaneous reaction, pounced on the staff, advanced through the Chief Warders office, destroying all the adjoining doors before gaining access to the gate lodge.

“They eventually broke into the armoury situated in the gate lodge and collected three riffles, went to the yard and started firing sporadically,” the spokesman stated.

Despite warning shots from guards stationed outside the perimeter fence, the inmates, emboldened by their weapons, fired shots at the prison wall in order to weaken it before making a hole where they went out.

Outside the wall, they were taken on by security forces made up of soldiers, police and the prison guards.

“They were however engaged in a gun battle with the Armed Squad personnel assisted by the Army and Policemen and at the end, 8 of the prisoners died, 17 were injured, 4 staff were also injured with one of them having serious wounds,’ the statement said.



    Francis said that no prisoner escaped during the incident as they were all arrested and returned to the yard, while all the riffles were recovered from them.

    “The situation is now fully under control and normalcy has since returned to the yard,” according to the statement.

    Francis said that Controller General of Prisons, Peter Ekpendu, had observed that it was important that the inmates were stopped as majority of the inmates awaiting ing trial were held for serious offenses such as armed robbery and murder.

    Over 500 out of the 638 awaiting trial prisoners at the time of the incident are charged for capital offences such as armed robbery, murder, kidnapping etc.,” Ekpendu said, adding that although the prisons service is committed to treating prisoners with human dignity, it is determined to put an end to incessant jailbreaks in the country.


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