…Security beefed up around Presidential Villa, Abuja
By Soni Daniel
No fewer than 20 Boko Haram detainees have been shot dead in a shoot-out that ensued this morning at the Department of State Security Service in the Asokoro a district of Abuja.
Vanguard learnt that the shoutout erupted when some of the suspected terrorists attempted to free their members and leave the detention facility, which is by the precincts of the Presidential Villa.
Trouble started around 6am during the normal handing over and taking over of duties by DSS detainees’ handlers.
A competent source said that as soon as one handlers opened the gate leading to the cell where the detainees were being kept, ten suspected terrorists rushed out, snatched the handler’s rifle and used it to shoot him.
Seeing the attack, some DSS handlers are reported to have retreated so as not to be killed by the rampaging suspected terrorists.
The source said after shooting the first handler, the ten suspected terrorists began to escape into different locations within the massive security compound.
Alarmed by the effrontery of the suspected terrorists, the DSS quickly deployed its men to quell the uprising, resulting in heavy shooting that claimed the lives of some of the suspects.
Many DSS operatives and Boko Haram detainees were also injured in the ensuing stampede.
The shot DSS operative, whose name could not be immediately ascertained, was immediately rushed to an undisclosed hospital. A source said the shot operative was in a critical state but had not died.
It was learnt that the DSS, which is highly embarrassed by the incident, had begun investigation into why the detainees handler decided to go and open the cell gate alone without being accompanied by others, as is the standard practice.
“The whole episode occurred around 6:30 am and 7am on Sunday during the normal handing over and takeover of detainees.
“The standard rule is that you cannot go alone to open the gate leading to the detainees’ cell but as soon as the man opened the gate, he was attacked and he tried to run away and was shot.
“The shot operative has been taken to hospital,” the source said.
The uprising led to the deployment of soldiers to the DSS headquarters and around the Presidential Villa.
Commuters and vehicles passing through the Aso a Drive, were searched by armed soldiers and DSS operatives.
Marylyn Ogar, the Spokeswoman for the DSS, confirmed the attempted jailbreak, which she said had been stalled by security agents.
She said, “What happened was that the suspects’ handlers went to feed the detainees here but suddenly they attacked him with their handcuffs, disarmed him and started shooting.
“The military was quickly called in before they could do any harm and that is responsible for the shootings you heard.
“It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control.”