There was shooting in the vicinity of Nigeria’s Presidential palace and the headquarters of the Department of State Services in the Asokoro District of Abuja. No fewer than 18 suspects were killed in the ensuing battle while about 20 were re-arrested with two rifle recovered from them. Two SSS operatives were also said to have been critically injured.
The expansive headquarters of the State Security Service, popularly known as Yellow House, is adjacent to one of the remote gates of the Presidential villa.
Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and resident of the Asokoro District of Abuja where the SSS headquarters is located, Nasir El-Rufai, has been posting updates on the situation via his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said there was an attempted jailbreak at the Service’s headquarters by suspected members of Boko Haram sect, hence, the shooting.
She said, “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.”
An operative who pleaded anonymity confirmed that the trouble started when one of the suspects in the service’s custody overpowered an operative who was in his cell to feed him. The suspect reportedly shot the operative with his own rifle and went ahead to release his co-suspects.
The incident led to a gun battle between the suspects and the SSS operatives.
According to the latest reports, military helicopters have been deployed and are now hovering around the area. The roads leading to the SSS headquarters have been cordoned off. Security operatives are now combing the thick bush that surrounds the headquarters in search of remaining fleeing suspects who were said to have scaled the fence.