No fewer than 20 Boko Haram detainees have been shot dead in a gun battle that ensued Sunday morning, March 30, 2014 at the Department of State Security Service in the Asokoro district of Abuja.
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The gun battle erupted when some of the suspected terrorists attempted to break out from the detention facility, which is by the precincts of the Presidential Villa.
Marylyn Ogar, the Spokeswoman for the DSS, confirmed the attempted jailbreak, which she said had been stalled by security agents.
Ogar 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.”
A source who spoke to Vanguard said that as soon as one 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.
The shot SSS official was quickly rushed to the hospital, he was in critical condition.
The source said that after the suspected terrorist shot the first handler, another ten suspected terrorists escape into different locations within the massive security compound.
At that point the DSS quickly deployed its men to the scene which resulted in heavy shooting that claimed the lives of some of the suspects.
The source, recounting the incident said: “The whole episode occurred around 6:30 am and 7am on Sunday during the normal handing over and takeover of detainees.
“The standard rule is that you cannot go alone to open the gate leading to the detainees’ cell but as soon as the man opened the gate, he was attacked and he tried to run away and was shot.
“The shot operative has been taken to hospital,” the source said.
Soldiers were deployed to the SSS headquarters from around the Presidential Villa.