As federal government battles to end the continued jail breaks in the country, Abakaliki federal prisons Thursday experienced a jailbreak as some inmates capitalised on a riot in the prison to stage a jailbreak which was successfully foiled by the Police but not without casualties.
It was reliably gathered that several inmates were feared dead while many sustained bullet wounds in the foiled jailbreak attempt, it was reliably gathered. But unconfirmed sources put the number of deaths at seven including one prison officer.It was also learnt that the trouble started when prisoners early morning revolted against poor treatment, especially inadequate feeding.
It was gathered that the angry inmates started rioting inside the prison and used every object within their reach to attack prison officers and consequently injured many. The sources said two of the prison officers wounded had been hospitalised. The Prison Officers it was learnt, returned fire for fire which resulted to the killing of several inmates and many others sustained gunshot. If not for the rapid response of the combined team of the Prison officers, Nigeria police and Army drafted to the scene, the inmates had started escaping from the prison having over-powered the guards, eyewitnesses said. Soldiers and Policemen cordoned off all roads leading to the Abakaliki prisons while the riot lasted.
Gunshots were heard intermittently as Police and Soldiers tried to recover a firearm allegedly taken from one of the prison officers.
The rioting inmates had already succeeded in creating an opening on the wall before anti-riot policemen arrived and heavily tear gassed them into submission. The prison is located beside the police headquarters leading to prompt intervention from the police.
Commander of Abakaliki Military Cantonment and the Commissioner of Police, Peace Ibekwe Abdallah visited the area and directed the operations to restore sanity to the prison.But the State Comptroller, Mrs Oputa Emilia denied knowledge of any death or snatching of guns of prison guard by the prisoners.She, however, said that three persons were injured in the process. But she admitted that the angry prisoners broke part of the fence but assured that the situation was being brought under control. A high ranking prison official told our Reporter in confidence that some prisoners were actually killed and their bodies were being secretly evacuated but insisted they were killed in self defence. It was also gathered that officers who took pictures of casualties were forced to delete them to avoid divulging it to the public.The Police spokesman, George Okafor when contacted said the command was still working hard to resolve the crisis. He, however, refused to confirm if anybody was killed. “There was an attempted jailbreak and the prison officials called in the police. We cordoned off the area and restored nomalcy to the area”.