Nationwide Apprehension as Terrorists Break Record in Abuja Prison Attack

Nationwide Apprehension as Terrorists Break Record in Abuja Prison Attack

  • Nigerians across the country seem to be apprehensive following the growing rate of insecurity in Nigeria
  • This increase in fear by citizens spiked with the recent attack on the Kuje Custodial Centre in the Federal Capital Territory by members of ISWAP
  • Some residents in the FCT inlcuding top leaders have also expressed shock over the attack which led to the release of over 600 inmates mostly terrorists by the attackers

Discussions at local beer joints, bars, restaurants and newspaper stands have continued to centre around the deteriorating state of insecurity in Nigeria.

This follows the attack launched on Kuje prison in Abuja, the nation's capital city on Tuesday, July 5.

Terrorists believed to be members of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) had on Tuesday night launched an attack on the Kuje Correctional Centre, setting free over 879 inmates in the process. Security personnel was killed, while three persons were injured.

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Kuje prison attack, Muhammadu Buhari, Abuja, terrorists, ISWAP, Nigerian Correctional Services
Many residents including leaders across the country seem to be apprehensive over the attack on the Kuje Prison facility. Photo: Aso Rock Villa
Source: Twitter

A security expert, Ben Okoro who spoke on the incident told that the country is in big trouble.

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Okoro said:

"We have never witnessed this type of nationwide insecurity before. If terrorists can invade the nation's capital, operate and leave unquestioned, then we are in a big trouble.
The issue is that the facility they attacked (Kuje prison) is a place expected to be with maximum security. So if they succeeded there, then there is no hope for other institutions. This is the height of it!"

Prior to the Kuje prison attack, President Muhammadu Buhari had boasted on several occasions that his government had kept terrorists off the nation's capital.

The president also stated that attacks on institutions witnessed under the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan had been put to a permanent end.

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In 2011, both the force headquarters and the United Nations building in Abuja were attacked by Boko Haram under the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

But observes that the difference between those attacks and the one of the Kuje prison is that while the terrorists only planted Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs to bomb those institutions, that of Kuje prison was an invasion with sophisticated weapons and a total takeover of the correctional centre.

The connection between the Abuja-Kaduna train attack and Kuje prison invasion

On March 28, terrorists who are members of the Ansaru group attacked an Abuja-Kaduna-bound train, killing many and abducting others.

Details show that over 50 persons are held captive with negotiations on securing their rescue ongoing.

While the terrorists have constantly threatened that they will kill their victims if the government failed to meet their demands, one of the key requests made by the group is the release of their members who are in detention - mostly at the Kuje Custodial Centre.

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A few days before the attack on Kuje prison, the bandits had reiterated they would start killing those in their custody if their demands were not met by Wednesday, July 7.

The threat by the terrorists comes after a journalist and publisher, Tukur Mamu confirmed that one of the captives had been shot by the terrorists.

Mamu also warned that the affected captive is in dire need of medical attention.

He also advised the Nigerian government to attend to the demands of the terrorists as quickly as possible in order to save the lives of those held captive.

Although there are allegations of internal collaboration in the Tuesday attack, it's difficult to establish a direct link between the demands of the terrorists holding Kaduna-Abuja-bound train victims and the attack on the Kuje prison.

Where it will, therefore, become clear if the attack was in fulfilment of an agreement between the government and the terrorists is when the terrorists decide to set their victims free. This is yet to be seen.

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Allegations of internal collaborations

Many have alleged that there were internal collaborators in the attack carried out by ISWAP at the Kuje Correctional Centre.

They believe that for the terrorists to have carried out the attack with minimum casualties as well as identifying their members and setting them free, internal collaborators played a role.

One of those with such an opinion is the senate president, Ahmad Lawan who said someone working at the prison or someone who must have worked there before may have collaborated with them.

Lawan said this when he visited the Kuje prison on Thursday for an on-the-spot assessment.

He said:

"Going from one cell to another to release people, specifically, those that are known to be insurgents, tells a lot of stories.
“It may not be far away from an insider job, someone who is either working in this place or must have worked here."

Buhari is disappointed

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his disappointment in the nation's security arrangement following the attack on the Kuje Correctional Centre.

Buhari who was at the prison on Thursday for an assessment wondered why terrorists could just carry out such a successful operation without any form of resistance by the security operatives.

Buhari’s position may have aligned with that of the senate president as he also demanded to know what the security operatives manning the prison did when the facility was attacked. Buhari also demanded to know whether the Close Circuit Televisions, CCTVs, were working.

Ahmad Lawan, the senate president had asked a similar question. And with the president’s demand, it’s clear that the government is generally pointing at internal collaborators who may have helped the terrorists to achieve a successful operation.

He said:

"I am disappointed with the intelligence system. How can terrorists organize, have weapons, attack a security installation and get away with it? I am expecting a comprehensive report on this shocking incident.’’

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Fear among residents in Abuja

There is palpable fear in the nation's capital, Abuja following the attack on the prison and for the fact that the presence of the escapee in the city could further pose a serious threat to the fragile security situation in the nation's capital.

A message in circulation had warned residents to be vigilant as criminals set free from Kuje prison could be lurking around and may pose a serious security threat to residents.

Residents were warned in some of the notices in circulation to be careful who they pick in their vehicles, and always have their doors pinned while driving. has observed that most workers since the incident occurred return home early from work in order to avoid being attacked by criminals.

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A security expert with a top security company who does not want his name in print due to the sensitivity of the situation told that the situation has caused serious tension in Abuja.

He said they got a new instruction from their organization's management on an emergency meeting to review their security strategy after the news of the Kune attack got to them.

According to him:

"I have noticed that the majority of Abuja workers return home from work on time these days.
"Mostly hit by this development is nightlife. Many nightlife patrons have not been coming out due to fear. The fear is natural. Even those of us on this job are afraid.
"If a place like a prison considered to be the most secured could be attacked in this manner, then we are in for big trouble."

FCT Minister, Bello assures residents of improved security

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But the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has said that there is no cause for alarm, urging residents to go about their normal businesses as efforts were on to strengthen security in the nation's capital.

Bello who was at the facility on Wednesday charged traditional rulers in Abuja and its environs to work with relevant security operatives in order to arrest and return all the escapees.

DCP Abba Kyari in our custody', official reacts to report of escape after terrorist attack on Kuje prison

The reports that the suspended deputy inspector general of police, Abba Kyari had escaped from Kuje prison have been debunked.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Correctional Service, Umar Abubakar described the reports as fake and misleading.

Abubakar said Kyari is in the custody of the NCS and contrary to the reports, the suspended DCP is hale and hearty.

Terrorists attack President Buhari's convoy

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ISWAP Claims Responsibility for Kuje Attack, Releases Video of Its Men in Action

The Kuje prison attack occured on the same day that some terrorists attacked the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina state.

The attack by the terrorists caused fear among members of the area including a resident who said that they hid in the bush during the attack.

According to the resident they were in the bush until a long stretch of military troops arrived to clear the area.


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