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Explosion rocks Bayelsa prison as security operatives foil jailbreak

…recover undetonated IED

By Samuel Oyadongha

Security operatives, Sunday night, foiled an attempted jailbreak at the Nigerian Prison yard in the Okaka suburb of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, which was thrown into confusion following an explosion suspected to be Improvised Explosive Device, IED,  attack on the facility by some prisoners.

It was gathered that the attack was masterminded by six inmates awaiting trial for kidnapping, armed robbery and murder.

The alleged masterminds, who were re-arrested in the wake of the confusion that enveloped the facility, were said to have broken out of their cells by blowing up the wall with explosives suspected to be IED.

Prison

The inmates were reportedly heading for the  outer wall with another explosive when they were apprehended by the armed squad of the Nigerian Prison Service.

The incident, which occurred about 9.02p.m., according to eyewitnesses, triggered panic at the usually serene  Okaka neighbourhood.

Residents of the area were said to have run for safety when the loud explosion rocked the prison facility followed by sounds of gunshots.

When Vanguard visited the area, yesterday, security operatives were on high alert while an armoured personnel carrier was stationed in front of the road leading to the prison yard.

Preliminary investigation conducted by the Bayelsa Command of the Nigerian Prison Service, led by its Controller of Prison, Chiabua Uche , it was gathered, revealed that the six arrested inmates involved in the attempted jailbreak were assisted by three other accomplices outside the prison.

The suspects, who have been identified, have been placed under observation for arrest.

The IEDs, it was learned, were smuggled into the prison in a 900 grams margarine plastic pack as provisions.

Also, an unexploded IED meant to blow up the outer wall was recovered from one of the re-arrested inmates.

Vanguard learned that the prison facility was built to accommodate 300 prisoners but the facility currently holds 600 inmates with 455 awaiting trial.

Contacted on the incident,  the Comptroller of Bayelsa State Command of the Nigerian Prison Service, Chiabua Uche, said the that quick response of sister security agencies of the Nigerian Police, Department of State Services, DSS  and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, foiled the attempted jail break as, “The situation is calm and the bomb squad of the Police has evacuated the unexploded IED.”

On the noticeable high number of inmates at the facility due to what many blamed on the slow pace of justice dispensation, he said,  “We are only custodians and don’t reject prisoners as long as they have proper documentation.”


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