Kuje invasion: ISWAP claims responsibility, frees Kaduna train attack masterminds

Scores of gunmen believed to be terrorists on Tuesday night bombed the Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abuja, which was being guarded by dozens of soldiers, Department of State operatives, police officers and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps personnel.

During the attack which began around 10:22 pm, the terrorists released 600 inmates, including 15 deadly Boko Haram commanders who masterminded the March 28 attack on the Kaduna-Abuja train at Katari, Kaduna, in which eight persons were killed and over 68 passengers kidnapped.

The Islamic State West Africa Province claimed responsibility for the attack in a 30-second video which showed the gunmen setting ablaze vehicles parked in the facility.

The spokesman, Nigeria Correctional Service, Umar Abubakar, confirmed that an NSCDC officer, Insp. Illyasu Abraham, three terrorists and four inmates died in the incident.

The Kuje attack came barely hours after a convoy of cars carrying the Advance Team of security guards, protocol and media officers ahead of the President’s trip to Daura for Sallah, came under a terrorist attack.

Findings by The PUNCH on Wednesday indicated that the assailants bombed the fence before gaining entry into the facility and also razed seven vehicles, and destroyed other facilities.

The gunmen were said to have operated for about two hours without any response from the security agencies.

The incident sparked panic in Kuje, a satellite town where the correctional facility is located, and apprehension in the nation’s capital.

About 900 inmates are being held at the facility, including a former Commander, Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, who is facing trial for drug dealing.

Also at the facility are the former governors of Plateau and Taraba States, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame and others pardoned by the Council of State in April.

They have not been released due to the delay in their approval letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

According to report over 12 attacks and jailbreaks have occurred in the last five years in which no fewer than 3,500 inmates and hardened criminals have escaped.

Top security sources said the attackers, on gaining entrance into the custodial centre, made for a section of the expansive premises where the Boko Haram commanders were held.

CULLED FROM PUNCH

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