Daily Trust (Abuja)

26 November 2012

Nigeria: SARS Attack - Police Confirm Two Cops Killed, Two Attackers Captured

The Nigeria Police has confirmed that two police officers lost their lives in the early morning attack launched against the Special Anti Robbery Squad Headquarters in Abuja.

A statement signed by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank E. Mba, also confirmed that two of the attackers were arrested.

The police however stated that no suspect being held for any terror related charge escaped.

"In the early hours of today, 26th November, 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," the statement said.

"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," he said.

The statement did not say how the inmates were able to break out on their own. Tight security is still being maintained around the facility and no journalists have been allowed in for independent verification. A photo journalist with the Daily Independent was arrested and detained briefly for attempting to take pictures outside the premises.

"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, CFR, NPM, mni has personally visited the scene of the incident to assess the situation. He has equally

ordered 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 nationwide," the statement added.

Earlier in the morning, Daily Trust had reported that unidentified gun men in a commando style raid, attacked the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) head office in Abuja around 2 am on Monday morning and freed many suspected terrorists.

The SARS facility is one of the centres that Boko Haram suspects are held in Abuja.

When contacted, FCT Police Commissioner Aderenle Shinaba assured that he will soon brief the press about the details of the attack. However that press briefing was canceleed because it was later relayed that the SARS was outside his purview and in its place, the statement above was issued from Force HQ.

A SARS operative, who did not want his name mentioned had told Daily Trust that the attack started around 2 o'clock in the morning, and the attackers succeeded in freeing some of the suspects held at their detention facility.

He also told Daily Trust that although he could not ascertain the number of the attackers, two police officers were killed in a confrontation with the gun men.

He further explained that in the ensuing gun battle some of the freed suspects were recaptured while a few others escaped.

However, unofficial sources claim that over 10 people were killed in the attack and about 150 suspected terrorist incarcerated at the facility were freed, and are presently at large.

The SARS headquarters, along Apo Highway in Abuja, has since been re-fortified with detachments of mobile police men manning the front gate of the building and dotted all around the perimeter fencing of the facility.

Two Armored police vehicles have also been deployed to add more fire power to the fortification.

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