The Federal Government has said it is putting the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) on the alert following the jailbreak that rocked the Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre (MSCC) in Kogi State on Monday.
Contrary to initial reports, the Federal Government also said at least 266 inmates of the facility were freed by gunmen who also killed one soldier and one policeman during the attack, adding that two officers of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) are yet to be accounted for.
Correctional Service spokesman, Mr Francis Enobore, also confirmed that the attack took place at about midnight on Sunday, when the gunmen in their numbers arrived at the custodial centre heavily armed and immediately engaged the guards in a fierce gun battle.
Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has been briefed by the Controller General of the NCoS, Haliru Nababa, on the unfortunate attack on Kabba Medium Security Custodial Centre.
It was gathered that during the attack, security officers on duty which comprised 15 soldiers, 10 police officers and 10 armed guards of the NCoS on duty fought gallantly to repel the attack.
Regrettably, two officers of the Correctional Service are yet to be accounted for while one soldier and a policeman lost their lives during the attack, media adviser to the minister, Sola Fasure, in a statement said.
Nigerian Tribune had earlier reported eyewitnesses’ accounts that claimed that four soldiers were killed and 240 inmates were freed during the attack.
But Fasure said the Kabba Custodial 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.
He noted, however, that there remain 28 inmates who did not escape, adding that some have also voluntarily returned to the facility as of this morning.
Fasure in a statement said the Controller-General of the service, Haliru Nababa, is currently monitoring the situation.
He added that a Crisis Response Centre has been activated and a Special Taskforce mobilized to recapture escaped inmates whilst 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.
The minister while reacting to the development assured the citizenry that Nigeria’s security forces would find the attackers and bring them to justice. We shall leave no stone unturned to bring them back to custody.
He said: “We are also putting INTERPOL on notice with their details, in case any of them attempts fleeing outside our shores.
“We urge the people, especially the communities around the custodial facility, to be vigilant and report any strange and suspicious persons or activities to the nearest law enforcement agency.
“To the fleeing inmates, escaping from lawful custody is a serious criminal offence. Law enforcement agencies and citizens are lawfully empowered to use all necessary means to arrest and bring you to justice.
“You should therefore know what you are up against. You will however be eligible for mitigation if you wilfully surrender yourselves at the nearest law enforcement office,” the minister said.
He insisted that the Nigeria Correctional Service shall not be cowed by elements seeking to compromise the security of our nation; we shall deal with this situation with absolute resolve.
“Further updates will be provided after the end of the preliminary assessment,” he said.
Kabba MSCC was established in 2008 with a capacity of 200.