How Abuja SARS Was Attacked –Witness

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•Police
re-arrest 25 of 30 detainees
…2 suspects seized as IGP raises probe
team
Barely 24 hours after
storming a military church at Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State,
gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram yesterday attacked the Special Anti-Robbery
Squad (SARS) Abuja, killing two policeman in a shoot-out.
The gunmen succeeded in
freeing some of their members in detention. Sources said 15 people may have
been killed, but the police confirmed only two, even as another source narrated
how the attack was carried out, saying it was brutal. The police said they have
re-arrested 25 of the 30 detainees set free by the gunmen.

The attackers, who
invaded the SARS office located along the Nyanya-Karu Expressway in Abuja at
exactly 2am, according to Daily
Sun
 sources,
killed a police Inspector and an anti-riot policeman.

They escaped with a good
number of their members in a shoot-out that lasted for about two hours. In a
statement issued yesterday, Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a
Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), confirmed the attack and the killing, but
said only five suspects who were not terrorists, escaped. He said the gunmen
were successfully repelled.
The source, who does not
want his name mentioned, told Daily Sun that the suspected terrorists stormed
the SARS premises located around a mountainous area from the bush and forced
the gate open with bullets and made their way straight to the cells, located at
the back side of the building where their members were detained and set them
free.
The invasion also led to
the escape of other robbery suspects, who used the opportunity created by the
Boko Haram members to escape. Apart from being well armed and prepared for the
operation, the gunmen were said to have been armed with very powerful security
light with which they flashed directly into the eyes of the policemen on duty
to completely blind them mometarily.
The powerful rays from
the flashlight they were carrying, was said to have had a serious impediment on
the policemen who struggled to get their actual position.
Those who escaped were
re-arrested in the bush, several policemen on duty sustained injuries and have
been rushed to the hospital. Mr Mba’s statement reads: “In the early hours of
today, November 26, 2012, at about 2am, unknown gunmen in large number attacked
the premises of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Federal Territory
Police Command.
Policemen on duty
responded swiftly and engaged the gunmen in a gun battle that lasted for some
minutes, at the end of which the gunmen were successfully repelled.
“However, in the
confusion that ensued, about 30 suspects in the detention facilities of SARS
broke out of the cells and attempted to escape. Tactical and coordinated
efforts to re-arrest the fleeing suspects yielded instant result. So far,
twenty five (25) of the suspects have been re-arrested, while five (5) suspects
originally being held in relation to robbery-related offences are currently at
large. Two (2) policemen died during the operation while two (2) of the
attackers have been arrested.
“It needs to be
emphasized here that no suspect held for terror-related charges, escaped from
SARS detention facilities. No explosive or IED-related materials were used in
the botched attack. “Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP MD
Abubakar, has personally visited the scene of the incident to assess the
situation.
He has equally raised a
high-powered investigative panel headed by a senior police officer to
investigate the circumstances surrounding the incidence. “Similarly, the IGP
has ordered water-tight security around all government and police-related
facilities nation-wide. The Police High Command uses this medium to appeal to
Nigerians for calm while reassuring them of the force’s preparedness to perform
its constitutional and statutory responsibilities of providing adequate
security for the state and the entire citizenry.
The force therefore,
enjoins the public to continue to go about their lawful duty without fear or
intimidation as adequate strategies have been put in place to guarantee the
general security and safety of all Nigerians”, Mba said. Meanwhile, the police
have beefed up security around SARS office, even as IGP Abubakar and the FCT
Commissioner of Police, Aderenle Shinaba, visited the scene of the incident to
assess the situation.
Reporters were barred
from gaining entry into the premises while a photo journalist with the Daily
Independent, Jide Oyekunle, who tried to capture the scene was beaten. His
camera was seized. He was detained for hours by SARS officials, who took
serious offence by the presence of journalists. One of the sources that would not
want his name mentioned said there had been complaint over the location of the
SARS office considering the security situation in the country because the
office is considered vulnerable to attack.
The source said the
authorities were making plans to relocate the office. Narrating the incident to
Daily Sun, the source said, “even though we have been complaining about the
location and that we may be attacked one day, we never expected this kind of
brutal attack.
“The whole thing
happened like magic and nobody had the premonition that this kind of thing will
happen in Abuja because we were all doing our job when at exactly 2am, we heard
a very loud gunshot and the shooting continued like that for about two hours
non-stop. “At first we didn’t know where the gunshot was coming from so, we
took cover only to discover that the firing was coming from the bush behind us,
meaning the attackers came from the hills and may have stayed there for some
days planning their attack.
“The attackers succeeded
in gaining access into the premises and went straight to both the male and
female cells, fired several shots and forced them open and freed their members
because we have some of them in detention. It was when they succeeded in
breaking into the very place where we detained the Boko Haram suspects that we
now knew what they were up to.
“Our men tried because
they did their best to defend the office as they too engaged the attackers in a
gun battle. But it seems the attackers came prepared because apart from their
shooting continuously for as long the operation lasted, they were armed with
very powerful torchlight that shines like mercury light, they used that light
to almost blind us because we could not see them, but they were seeing us.
“So When the firing got
too much for us, we had to run into the bush and remained there for sometime
and in the process, some people sustained injuries and lost their personal
belongings and by the time the firing stopped, we found one Inspector and one
anti-riot policeman, those ones that wear red beret dead. “We just thank God
for everything because we were able to arrest some of the suspects who escaped
and some armed robbery suspects who are in our custody also used the
opportunity to escape”. The source said.
Source:
Sun

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