The ministry of interior says about 600 inmates escaped from Kuje prison in the federal capital territory (FCT).
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Shuaib Belgore, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing journalists at the facility in Abuja.
According to a report by TheCable, gunmen had attacked the prison with explosives on Tuesday night.
The reports noted that gunfire was also heard for over 30 minutes, causing panic among residents said a resident.
‘I heard a bomb and shootings’—Resident of Kuje, Emmanuel Johnnya recounts the experience of a prison break in Kuje.
Speaking on Wednesday, Belgore said the assailants came to the prison “very prepared” with explosives.
He said about 600 inmates escaped, but that security operatives have retaken 300 so far, and that effort is in progress to recapture others at large.
“There have been several attacks on our facilities most of them are being repelled, but every now, and then there is one that they have succeeded. In this one they came very determined with high explosives,” he said.
“The initial entry attempt was unsuccessful then they attack another section of the wall with higher-grade explosives which brought the wall down. The forces on the ground did everything they could to repell them, but the number they came with were 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. At the time they came in they killed one NSCDC personnel while trying to safe the situation.
“The inmate here are 994. We understand they are Boko Haram terrorists and came specifically for their conspirators. Many of them are returned, some were retrieved from the bushes they were hiding right we have retrieved about 300 out of about 600 that got out of the jail.”
No fewer than 20 vehicles and walls were destroyed in the Kuje prison attack.
Belgore said the number of the assailants killed is yet to be ascertained.
He added that one security operative was killed while three others were wounded and are receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, The Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), on Wednesday morning, confirmed the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre in the Kuje area of Abuja by gunmen.
In a statement by NCS spokesperson, Umar Abubakar said the Service was yet to identify those behind the attack.
The statement also did not disclose if there were casualties or jailbreak as a result of the attack.
“I wish to confirm that at about 2200hrs, some yet-to-be-identified gunmen attacked the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, in the Federal Capital Territory.
The statement noted that men of the Armed Squad of the Service and other security agencies attached to the Custodial Centre have responded and calm has been restored to the facility and the situation is under control.
Writing by Abdullahi Lamino