KUJE PRISON ATTACK: Suspected Boko Haram jihadists using guns and explosives blasted their way into the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje, popularly known as “Kuje Prison” freeing dozens of their jailed comrades and hundreds of other inmates on Tuesday night.
The brazen attack on the outskirts of Abuja came just hours after an ambush attack on president Buhari’s security convoy in the northwest was successfully repelled by security agents attached to the convoy.
Daily Trust reported that at least 900 inmates including senior Boko Haram members and notorious bandits escaped from Kuje Prison. Only about 60 of over 1000 inmates were reportedly re-arrested. The attackers operated for over two hours from 10pm and used dynamites to break the Central Terrorism Unit.
Following Tuesday night’s terrorist attack on Kuje prison and setting free of large numbers of prisoners most of whom are hardened criminals, heightened Security presence and searches have been observed around Kuje area.
This includes vehicle scrutiny and searches by Prison officials at the Army check points.
How president Muhammadu Buhari responded to the attack
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday briefly visited the prison, where the burnt-out wreckage of a bus and cars marked the scene of the attack, and yellow police tape was stretched across a destroyed section of the prison perimeter.
In a statement via his official Twitter page, the president wrote; “Saddened by the attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kuje. I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it? I am expecting a comprehensive report on this shocking incident.”
How has the minister of defence responded
A few hours after the midnight Kuje Prison attack, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi said 64 Boko Haram suspects have escaped.
According to him, 64 prisoners who are being tried for terrorism were among those who escaped from the Kuje Medium Prison during the attack on Tuesday evening.
Speaking to reporters after touring the facility for assessment, the minister said;
“The attack started around 10:30pm. They came in their numbers gained entrance into the prison and released some of the inmates and which we are now following to see the kind of inmates that they have released.
“Very soon, we will give you the correct figure of the inmates that were taken. Aside that, we are trying to see what we can do to ensure that all escapees are returned back.
“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. I think they are about 64 in the prison and none of them now is available they have all escaped.”
Number of Casualties
At least 10 inmates and a Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Officer were killed by gunmen suspected to be members of Iswap and boko haram terrorist group during the attack.
According to Sahara Repoters, a top prison official revealed to it’s correspondent and said; “About ten of the inmates were killed during the attack, a Civil Defence official was also confirmed dead. Some of the inmates sustained injuries as well, everywhere is calm now.”
ISWAP Claim Responsibility For The Kuje Prison Attack [Video]
The Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram, known as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.
ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the Kuje prison break a few hours after the attack saying it had succeeded in “freeing dozens of prisoners”.
According to security analyst, Tomasz Rolbieki, “the Kuje attack took place during a period in which IS’ activity levels worldwide rise. This could mean that the timing of the attack was deliberate and was chosen to coincide with the run-up to Eid al-Adha.”
U.S. issues security alert to citizens in Nigeria
The United States embassy in Nigeria recently issued a security advisory to American residents in Nigeria, warning that “an upsurge in criminality is likely in and around Abuja.”
The U.S. warning follows Tuesday night’s attack on the medium-security Kuje prison in the capital of the country.
For the next two weeks, U.S. citizens should maintain a high level of personal security awareness and refrain from unnecessary travel on the airport road, the embassy urged its citizens.
“On the night of July 5, 2022, an attack on Kuje Prison freed a large portion of the estimated 1,000 prisoners. The prison lies approximately 27 miles southwest of the Central Business District,” the statement reads in part.
The statement added, “Crime is endemic throughout Nigeria and tends to spike after dark. Avoiding locations and situations that increase the likelihood of being victimized is the best defence.
“Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad.”
According to the statement, U.S. citizens in Nigeria are to avoid, “high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.), hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists, places of worship, schools, parks, shopping malls and markets and public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights).”