By Omeiza Ajayi & Marie-Therese Nanlong
The Jos Prison, yesterday evening came under attack as gunmen, who pretended to be on a visit to the facility engaged the officials in a shootout at the gate, to gain access into the facility.
It will be recalled that some inmates had earlier this year escaped from the facility that is situated in the heart of Jos City and were yet to be recaptured.
The recent attack left yet to be ascertained number of persons dead and some inmates were said to have escaped, following the confusion that ensued although unconfirmed report has it that about five inmates were recaptured as they tried to escape.
This is happening in a facility that is bordered by other security outfits such as the state Police Command, State CID, headquarters of Department of State Services, DSS, Police A Division as well as the Police and prison barracks.
The gunmen engaged security agents in a shootout that lasted over an hour as passersby scampered for safety.
At press time, the vicinity has been cordoned off and the spokesman of the Jos prison did not comment on the development.
An eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, said that some of the gunmen lost their lives, while some others are trapped in the prison, following the arrival to the scene of operatives of Operation Safe Haven, who surrounded the prison and its environs.
The invaders, it was gathered, seemed to have ran out of bullets as the sporadic gunshots have ceased.
Meanwhile, spokesman of the prison, Mr. Francis Enobore, in a statement, yesterday night in Abuja, said: “The Medium Security Prison in Jos, Plateau State came under attack by gunmen, who reportedly stormed the facility in large number with sophisticated weapons.
“The invaders were said to have arrived at the prison about 1720hrs and immediately made for the main gate, where they engaged the armed squad personnel in a gun battle before breaking into the yard.
“Although they gained entrance into the yard, they are, however, trapped within as men from sister security services were immediately mobilised to assist the armed guards to cordon the perimeter wall and the entire area.
“Reinforcement from the response squad of the service has also been mobilised to the centre.
“The situation is presently under control as the attackers’ firing power is being subdued by the superior fire from a combined team of security agencies. Update will be made available as event unfolds.”