From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
The Federal Government yesterday, said security forces have launched a manhunt for gunmen who attacked Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kogi State on Sunday.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, stated this in a statement.
“A crisis response centre has been activated and a Special Task Force mobilised to recapture escaped inmates, while an Inter-Agency Security Task Force is already on the trail of the gunmen who attacked the facility. The public is advised to stay calm as the situation is under control. We shall leave no stone unturned to bring the inmates who escaped back to the custody.”
The minister said government had also put INTERPOL on notice with details of inmates that escaped, in case any of them attempts fleeing the country.
He urged fleeing inmates to voluntarily return as they will be eligible for mitigation if they willfully surrender at the nearest law enforcement office.
Daily Sun learnt that the gunmen attacked a military checkpoint located a few metres away from the correctional centre with heavy gunfire before attacking the prison. Two soldiers were confirmed killed while another was injured.
Another eye witness account, however, said the gunmen attacked an uncompleted building where the soldiers normally hibernate and after that broke into the correctional centre releasing over 100 inmates.
The account said some officers on guard at the correctional facility were injured, while one of the soldiers who made attempt to flee was shot on the leg.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 8, Ayuba Edeh, said the Commissioner of Police and other heads of security agencies in the state have swung into action to ascertain the cause of the attack.
Aregbesola cnfirmed that one soldier and a policeman lost their lives during the attack, while two officers of the custodial service were yet to be accounted for.
He said during the attack, security officers on duty, comprising 15 soldiers, 10 police officers and 10 armed guards of the service fought gallantly to repel the attack.
“The facility had 294 inmates as at the time of the attack, many of whom escaped after the gunmen used explosives to destroy three sides of the perimeter fence.
“The remaining 28 inmates didn’t escape. Meanwhile, some of the inmates who escaped have also voluntarily returned to the facility this morning,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kogi Government has given assurance that security agencies were synergising with relevant stakeholders to unmask and arrest the mastermindof the attack.
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, in a statement in Lokoja said security agencies had intensified efforts to ensure that those who escaped were re-arrested.
Some of the inmates who escaped during the attack have, however, been rearrested.
However, palpable tension has gripped residents of the Confluence state and those in contiguous states as unconfirmed security report had warned of the possibility of coordinated attacks in Kogi state.