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‘65 fully-armed security agents on guard during Kuje prison attack,’ Aregbesola tells Reps committee

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Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said on Monday 65 fully-armed security operatives were on guard when terrorists attacked the Kuje correctional centre, Abuja.

Aregbesola stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Joint Committee investigating the attack in Abuja.

He said 888 persons escaped from the correctional centre.

Members of the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) on July 5 attacked the correctional centre and freed hundreds of inmates, including suspected terrorists detained in the facility.

At least six vehicles were also damaged during the attack.

The terror group later released a video of the attack.

At the investigative hearing, the lawmakers expressed disappointment that the attack lasted several hours without any intervention by the security operatives.

Aregbesola said: “On the day of the invasion, there were 31 military personnel of the Nigerian Army, five personnel of MOPOL 21, five personnel of MOPOL 50, two personnel of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the Nigeria Police, two personnel of Kuje Police Division, seven personnel of Nigeria Immigration Service, three personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and 10 personnel of correctional armed squad.

“These 65 people were there for specific responsibility of resisting and preventing any attack. And they were all armed. Because of the presence of the pressmen here, I would not tell you the grades of arsenals in their possession, but they were well armed.

“If we had a more exclusive arrangement, I would give you specific grades of equipment, military arsenals. Arsenals were positioned for the defence of the facility, however, in spite of everything, our arrangement of protection of Kuje failed and the facility was breached.

READ ALSO: Reps promise to unravel circumstances behind Kuje jailbreak

“On the night of the attack, Kuje accommodated 994 inmates out of which 64 were terror suspects, Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province and others. 888 inmates escaped during the attack, among them 554 awaiting trial persons.

“71 were convicts, 36 were on death row and 17 were on life imprisonment. 106 refused to leave the facility during the attack while 28 inmates who left the facility voluntarily returned between July 6 and July 15.”

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