Twenty-one members of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, were killed in Sunday’s unsuccessful jailbreak attempt at the Headquarter of the Department of State Services (DSS) on Aso Drive at Asokoro in Abuja.
According to the authorities, two operatives of the DSS also sustained serious injuries during the audacious bid by the members of the sect who had been detained there to force their way out.
Nigeria’s capital, Abuja was thrown into an early morning panic as soldiers were called in to crush the jaibreak attempt.
The failed attempt led to panic in the neighbouring areas of Maitama and Asokoro, as members of the sect battled DSS operatives for hours in a shootout.
Abuja residents, who have been on edge as a result of the insurgency in the North, were thrown into panic, believing that the Aso Rock Villa, which is also in the same area as the SSS Headquarters was under assault.
A statement signed by Marilyn Ogar, the services’ Deputy Director of Public Relations, said: “Following our earlier releases, it has been established that 18 casualties were recorded, while two Service personnel sustained serious injuries.
“Three other detainees who sustained gunshot injuries during the incident have also died,” Ogar said.
It was gathered that after they successfully overpowering the security men on duty, the detainees were then said to have attempted to fight they way out of the complex, leading to heavy gunfire that that was heard by residents in nearby areas like Asokoro and Maitama.
Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, for example, has posted on social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook that the gunfire appeared to be fierce.
“IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD: Exchange of gunfire still going on with helicopter gunship hovering over the Aso Drive neighbourhood of Maitama adjoining the SSS Headquarters,” he wrote on his Facebook wall.
“Whatever this is, it appears more serious than an attempted jailbreak claimed by the SSS. May God Protect the innocent and destroy the murderers, kidnappers and planners of genocide, Amen,” he added.
She said investigation was ongoing to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the attempted jailbreak but she said initial review had showed that the incident occurred when the services’ suspect handler went to the detention facility within the headquarters to feed suspects.
“One of the suspects attempted to disarm the handler by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff,” she had said.
Meanwhile all adjoining roads to the DSS headquarter Abuja have been opened to human and vehicular traffic.
Ogar said: “Further to my earlier statement, we wish to state that the roads leading to our offices were cordoned off to prevent possible assistance for the perpetrators from external collaborators.
“During this period, the precinct of the office and adjoining neighbourhood were thoroughly searched.
“Meanwhile, normalcy has returned to the area and the roads have been opened for free movement of persons and vehicles,” she said.