Written by Uchechukwu Olisah and Kola Oyelere
Monday, 20 August 2012
SHOOTINGS and explosions reportedly rocked the medium security prisons at Oko, a suburb of Benin City, the Edo State capital, in the early hours of Sunday, in what appeared to be a jail-break operation.
The attack was said to have jolted residents of the prison neighbourhood out of their sleep, as they scampered for safety in the fear that the operation might escalate.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the incident took place at about 1.30 a.m, when the masterminds purportedly used explosives to force open one of the prison gates, while sporadic gunshots rented the air throughout the period the operation lasted.
Prison officials and policemen on guard were said to have engaged the gunmen, who reportedly came in a Coaster bus, in a gun duel but were, however, overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the attackers.
An unconfirmed number of inmates were said to have escaped from the prison during the operation, though about 12 of them had been reportedly re-arrested.
Family members and friends of inmates, including journalists who besieged the prison when the news of the attack broke were turned back, as security men cordoned off the premises.
When contacted, the state Comptroller of Prisons, F. O. Ewulo, said there was a jail-break attempt early on Sunday morning, adding that investigation was ongoing.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Anthony Airhuoyo, said the state command was yet to be briefed by the divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of the area.
In another development, the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kano State, on Sunday, repelled attack by gunmen at a checkpoint, while one mobile police officer wwas hit in the leg.
According to the spokesman of the JTF, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, the attack on military men at the checkpoint was repelled, adding that the mobile policeman who sustained a minor injury was treated and had since resumed duty.
He disclosed that the gunmen escaped with gunshot injury into a neighbourhood at Kundila Estate, adding that no life was lost during the attack.
The JTF spokesman implored members of the public to go about the sallah celebration without fear.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Kano on Sunday, as armoured tanks were stationed at strategic places in the city to forestall any attack on sallah day.
More security operatives were drafted to mosques as well as churches in the town, to avert breakdown of law and order.
Also, helicopters were seen hovering in the sky, to checkmate attempts by miscreants to unleash terror in the state.
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