The raid and a separate ambush of an advance convoy of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari – who was not present – heading to his hometown in northern Katsina state, highlights Nigeria’s ongoing security challenges, especially in the northern regions where militants and gangs are present. Widespread.
Shoaib Belgor, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Interior, told reporters outside the Abuja prison – which houses 900 inmates – that a security officer was killed during the raid and three others were injured.
He said the suspected Boko Haram attackers came for members held in the prison.
“They came specifically for their conspirators, but in order to get them … some of them are commoners (prison), so they broke out and other people of this population also escaped, but many of them came back,” Belgor said.
He added that more than 600 inmates escaped, but half of them were re-arrested, and the chase continues.
“They reported it to the police themselves, some of us managed to retrieve it from the bush they were hiding in, and (even) we retrieved about 300 of the about 600 that came out of the prison cells,” he said.
Outside the prison, the charred remains of several bullet-ridden cars were seen on Wednesday morning, indicative of gun battles in the vicinity during the raid.
A helicopter hovered overhead as armed security officials brought a shirtless inmate with a deep cut to his leg, while another injured inmate was taken to the prison.
Bukhari was not in a convoy of cars carrying an advance team of security guards, ceremonies and media, heading to the town of Dora, the hometown of the president, near the border with Niger, in preparation for the Eid al-Adha holiday.
“The attackers opened fire on the convoy from the ambush positions, but the army, police and security personnel accompanying the convoy were repulsed,” a presidential spokesman said in a statement.