Premium Times (Abuja)

30 March 2014

Nigeria: Breaking - Heavy Gunfire Around Presidential Villa, SSS Headquarters

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian security officers.

UPDATE 1: Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and resident of the Asokoro District of Abuja where the SSS headquarters is located, Nasir El-Rufai, just posted the below comment on his Facebook page:

IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD: Exchange of gunfire still going on with helicopter gunship hovering over the Aso Drive neighbourhood of Maitama adjoining the SSS Headquarters.

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.

UPDATE 2: Another resident of the area, Femi Fani-Kayode tweeted:

I live 50 metres away from the SSS headquaters and the Villa and what I witnssed with my eyes and heard this morning was a full scale battle

- Femi Fani-Kayode (@realFFK) March 30, 2014

Read our initial post below.

The expansive headquarters of the State Security Service, popularly known as Yellow House, is almost adjacent one of the remote gates of the presidential villa.

Residents of the nearby Aso Drive Area said the gunshots were either coming out of the SSS headquarters or the presidential villa.

A resident of the area told PREMIUM TIMES, "We don't know what's going on here. Heavy gunfire has been coming from the direction of the villa. The entire area has been barricaded. SSS operatives are scampering out of their headquarters as the gunshots get louder.

"Soldiers are now heading in the direction of the SSS headquarters with Armoured Personnel Carriers. Those of us living around here have been asked to stay indoors and not venture out."

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, could not be reached for comments.

But the spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said the gunshots were triggered by attempted jailbreak at the Service's headquarters by suspected members of the extremist Boko Haram sect.

She said, "What happened was that the suspects handlers went to feed the detainees here but suddenly they attacked him with their handcuffs, disarmed him and started shooting.

"The military was quickly called in before they could do any harm and that is responsible for the shootings you heard.

"It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control."

It is however not clear how detainees, held in the highly fortified complex, got guns with which they shot at soldiers and SSS operatives for over an hour.

It is also not known whether there were casualties in the attack.

Military helicopters have now been deployed and are now hovering around the area.

A resident of the area, Yoosooph, tweeted as follows during the attack.

The soldiers are advancing twds em, and they are just trying! Pray for them and we wey dey hide! pic.twitter.com/q2DaYorfMl

-- Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014

Serious cover by our soldiers ryt now! pic.twitter.com/MeTAH9AoZr

-- Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014

Our soldiers taking cover from the invaders/attackers! pic.twitter.com/EeYqnLZyrc

-- Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014

Chopper hovering over my head and searches continue! God help Nigeria!

-- Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014

With gunfire & this chopper hovering endlessly over my house, I pray the pilot doesn't mistakenly drop ordinance & plead the targeting of BH

-- EagleEye (@bashiryusuf) March 30, 2014

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