Thirty men being held for armed robbery today broke free of tight police security and vanished into the night in a brazen attack staged by Boko Haram on the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad headquarters in Abuja.
A police statement issued by spokesman Frank E. Mba explained that the incident happened at about two o’clock this morning when “unknown gunmen in large number attacked the premises of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)” of the force.
In a duel which lasted only a few minutes, according to the account, the attackers were repelled but about 30 suspects who were being detained broke out of their cells and attempted to escape.
Twenty-five were re-arrested, while five escaped.
Two policemen were killed during the incident, and two of the attackers were arrested.
“It needs to be emphasized here that no suspect held for terror related charges, escaped from SARS detention facilities,” the statement said, adding that no explosive or IED-related materials were used in the botched attack.
Although the statement did not say where the SARS location that was attacked is, it stated that the Inspector General of Police has visited the scene, and ordered a high-powered investigative panel headed by a senior police officer to investigate today’s events.
He has also urged Nigerians to remain calm and vigilant, and 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.
The IGP did not say what the “adequate” securities are for the public if they could not prevent the seizure of five men it had in its own care.
It was also unclear why the police not only lost two men in an incident which lasted only a few minutes by its own admission, but lost five escapees as well in those minutes.
And while it was curiously able to arrest only two of the attackers, none were killed or wounded.