At least 20 Boko Haram detainees were Sunday shot dead in a shootout that ensued at the Department of State Security Service in the Asokoro a district of Abuja.
The shootout started when some of the suspected terrorists attempted to free their members and escape from the detention facility, which is close to the Presidential Villa.
Trouble had started around 6am during the normal handing over and taking over of duties by DSS detainees’ handlers, sources say.
A source told Vanguard that as soon as one of the handlers opened the gate leading to the cell where the detainees were being kept, ten suspected terrorists rushed out, snatched the handler’s rifle and used it to shoot him.
Seeing the attack, some DSS handlers were reported to have retreated so as not to be killed by the rampaging suspected terrorists.
The Vanguard source further said that after shooting the first handler, the ten suspected terrorists began to escape into different locations within the massive security compound.
The DSS responded swiftly by deploying its men to quell the uprising, resulting in heavy shooting that claimed the lives of some of the suspects.
Many DSS operatives and Boko Haram detainees were also injured in the ensuing stampede.
The DSS operative who was shot had since been taken to the hospital, and now lies in a critical state, according to reports.
Investigation into why the detainees handler decided to go and open the cell gate alone without being accompanied by others according to standard practice had begun as the DSS was said to have been embarrassed by the incident.
Spokeswoman for the DSS, Marylyn Ogar confirmed the attempted jailbreak.
“What happened was that the suspects’ handlers went to feed the detainees here but suddenly they attacked him with their handcuffs, disarmed him and started shooting.
“The military was quickly called in before they could do any harm and that is responsible for the shootings you heard.
“It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control,” she said.