Terrorists bomb Nigeria’s most fortified prison, free rebels and criminals outside Abuja
The incident occurred just hours after terrorists launched a daring attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s forward security team, which had traveled to Katsina State to take security measures before the arrival of the President for the celebration of Sallah in his home town of Daura. Two police officers were killed in the attack.
Kuje, a town on the outskirts of Abuja, the national capital, has seen an upsurge in violent attacks in recent months. A leaked government memo quoted Nigerian intelligence agencies as saying that terrorists from northeast and northwest Nigeria had moved to parts of the outskirts of Abuja.
Abuja witnessed a series of terrorist attacks nine years ago, including the bombing of the United Nations building, an attack on the police headquarters, a square and a military barracks.
Concerns in Abuja and beyond
Recent attacks have been limited to the outskirts of Abuja. However, these renewed attacks are now instilling fear in the minds of millions of residents of the city, where almost all of Nigeria’s embassies and government agencies are headquartered.
President Buhari was elected in 2015 mainly on his credentials as a retired general with a background in fighting insecurity. However, while Boko Haram activities in the northeast have declined significantly, other parts of the country are now experiencing unprecedented levels of violent attacks.
As many as 14 prison breaks have taken place across the country in the past five years, with nearly 5,000 inmates released in the process, according to a count of The Africa Report.
The security threat
Mike Ejiofor, former director of the Department of State Services, Nigeria’s intelligence agency, recounts The Africa Report that the attacks are a big problem and pose a big security challenge in the Nigerian capital.
Ejiofor says it is curious that the attack on the prison comes as terrorists demand the release of their colleagues.
“It is worrying that we continue to record prison escapes despite efforts to fortify these facilities. These terrorists demand the release of their colleagues. So this attack may be related,” he says.
“Everyone must now be on their guard and see what they can do because this portends danger to all of us if all these detainees are not immediately arrested,” Ejiofor concludes.
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