Boko Haram jail break: 93 escapees at large

Magic Kay diary reports from,

The Nation

Ninety-three of the 115 inmates of Koton Karfe Prison, Kogi State, freed on Wednesday by Boko Haram members are still large, it was learnt yesterday.

Fifteen have, however, been rearrested, while seven are said to be in custody of Boko Haram.

Boko Haram said yesterday that it invaded the prison to free the seven who are its members.

Comptroller-General (CG) of Prison Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim has visited the prison to assess the situation, the outfit’s spokesman, Kayode Odeyemi, told reporters in Lokoja.

He said: “About 100 prisoners escaped during the Boko Haram attack. Another 25 would have escaped but were prevented by security personnel.

“The NPS Comptroller General (CG), Mr Zakari Ohinoyi Ibrahim has visited Kogi Prison. He expressed disappointment with the development and vowed to do everything possible to get to the bottom of the situation.

“As we speak 15 of the escaped inmates have been rearrested.

“He will brief the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, and I think the minister will later brief the media on the unfortunate incident.”

The prisoners broke jail on Wednesday following an attack on the prison by Boko Haram men, who blew up the gate with dynamite. A prison warder was shot dead. Many others were injured in the dusk attack.

Claiming responsibility for the attack yesterday, a Boko Haram spokesman said:

“We staged the operation to rescue seven of our members there and Allah made it possible for the operation to be successful,” a man who goes by the name Abul Qaqa, and claims to speak on behalf of Boko Haram, told reporters in a conference call.

“They are safely in one of our camps,” Qaqa said.

“The invaders came at about 7.15 pm (1815 GMT) on Wednesday and we suspected they used explosives to bring down the gate of the prison and the roof of the gate and thereafter set free 119 inmates,” said prison authority spokesman Hadiza Aminu.

Boko Haram, which has killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks, was behind a prison break in Bauchi state in 2010, when about 700 prisoners were freed.

Aminu said there were no Boko Haram members being held in the prison in Koton Karfi, which is about 100 kilometres Abuja.

A visit to Kuje Medium Prison and the NPS National Headquarters in Abuja showed increased security.

Even officers were subjected to security check before entering the premises.

More armed prison officials have also been deployed in the Prison to forestall any untoward situation. Officers are now more vigilant, sources said.

In Maiduguri, a gunman suspected to be a Boko Haram member was yesterday arrested inside the Baga fish market in Maiduguri.

It was learnt that he came into the market about 1pm with the intention to kill.

He was dressed in a flowing gown and was about drawing out his gun when he was wrestled down by some traders.

Many gunshots were released as they battled to overpower him, leading people to scamper for safety.

The gunshots drew the attention of soldiers who came to the scene and took the man away.

Four months ago at the same market, a goat-seller was killed by another suspected sect member in day light.

Spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lt.-Col. Hassan Mohammed said: “The task force with the assistance of traders arrested a gun man suspected to be a member of Boko Haram who entered the market to kill innocent people.”

He praised the effort and “gallantry” displayed by the people which led to the arrest of the gunman, adding that the people showed that security is a collective responsibility.

“They (traders) have shown that security is a collective responsibility and that the sect members are not invisible as they now choose to operate in markets and highly concentrated areas,” Lt. Col. Mohammed added.

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