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Published On: Wed, Apr 2nd, 2014

SSS and the jailbreak saga

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SSS jailbreakBy Joy Baba

Residents living around the headquarters of the Department of State Services, otherwise known as SSS, woke up early hours of Sunday, to sounds of gunshots and utmost confusion.

Though the gunshots were heard mostly from the direction of the DSS office, they could not ascertain what really was happening.

As the day went by and events unfolded information trickled in about an attempted jail break and how some prisoners at the DSS were seen running across the road in the area.

Later, it became established that some insurgents, Boko Haram to be specific, had actually attacked the DSS office to free some of their members who were in the custody of the DSS.

In a swift reaction to all the unconfirmed reports making the round, the Deputy Director, Publics Relations of the DSS, Ms Marilyn Ogar said it was an attempted jailbreak and that officials of the DSS foiled the attempt.

According to her “At 0715 hours, the Service suspect handler went to the detention facility within the Headquarters to feed the suspects. One of the suspects attempted to disarm him by hitting him at the back of his head with his handcuff. His attempt to escape drew the attention of other guards at the facility who, fired some shots to warn and deter others.

“The gunshots attracted the attention of the military with which we have an understanding of mutual assistance in the event of any threat. The Army immediately deployed a team to reinforce our perimeter guards to forestall any external collaborators”.

This statement didn’t state at any point that any riffle was collected from the suspect handler attacked. It said the inmate “attempted to disarm him”

More facts emerged by Sunday afternoon that Boko Haram insurgents stormed the headquarters of the DSS located within the vicinity of Aso Rock villa stating that 18 out of the detained members of the sect were killed in the incident. The number of those killed increase to 21 by night fall.

Reports also had it that the suspects in detention overpowered the suspect Handler, who was leading them to have their bath and also use the convenience.

A source who lives in the neighbourhood was the first to alert Peoples Daily on the happenings just before the arrival of the Army. The source who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, said he saw a desperate officer in front of the headquarters of DSS his shoes in his hands.

He said he had to go back because he was confused since he didn’t know what was going on but confirmed that the fleeing man went away.

If the DSS said it was one inmate who “attempted” to disarm their official, what called for that heavy shoot out?

How can “one inmate” in handcuffs engage several officials in a gun duel to the point of killing 21 other inmates and no DSS official died?

Why was an official of such important directorate, said to be going to feed suspects not mindful that suspect have such tendencies? If truly an inmate in handcuffs could dislodge such trained security official so easily, it then shows their level of seriousness and the insubstantiality of the system.

It further shows that security personnel are perpetually taken unawares no matter how many times a particular incident repeats itself.

An interaction with two people who have been in SSS custody shows that it is difficult to find your way out of their detention cell on your first experience.

One, who was detained for some months, said usually, the two disparate operatives of the DSS deliver food to him every day until his release and will never tell you the time of the day.

He said the operatives do not put on wrist watches or any form or necklace so prisoners won’t get to know the time of the day.

Let us assume the “inmate on handcuff” hit one of the suspect handlers, what happened to his other colleague that went in with him? He was too dazed to hit the suspect back immediately to stop further damages?

Reports had it that the gun duel between the Boko Haram detainees and the operatives left over eight personnel dead before soldiers from the Guards Brigade rushed to the scene to stop the terrorists from killing more security officers.

As have been widely reported, known neighbours who live a few meters from their head office like Nasir El- Rufai and Femi Fani-Kayode, both former ministers gave account of what they saw and heard separately.

According to El-Rufai “Whatever this is, it appears more serious than an attempted jailbreak claimed by the SSS. May God Protect the innocent and destroy the murderers, kidnappers and planners of genocide, Amen.”

Fani-Kayode in his reaction to the statement by DSS said “I live 50 metres away from the SSS headquarters and the Villa and what I witnessed with my eyes and heard this morning was a full scale battle.”

The entire vicinity of the presidential palace and the SSS headquarters was cordoned off after a little calmness making it impossible for journalists to do area assessment with a view to determining what actually happened.

There are so many loopholes in the DSS angle of the story that observers are forced to believe that, it is either an attack from outside forces or a hunger on the part of the DSS to kill, hence the 21 casualties within split seconds.


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