Warders foil attempted jailbreak in Calabar

An undisclosed number of inmates on Friday gained entry
into the armory of the Calabar Prison , Cross River State,
and attempted to escape after a gun duel but were
overpowered by a combined team of security agents.The incident, which occurred at about 11am, was said to
have caused pandemonium as residents of neighbouring
Afokang, Iman and Jebbs in Calabar South axis of the
metropolis scampered to safety during the gun duel.
The Afokang end of the prison fence was broken during the
process while two inmates were said to have escaped, but
the state controller of prisons, Mr. Clement Udosen, said no
inmate escaped.
It was, however, not clear how the inmates gained access to
the armory, but it was learnt that a total of 53 rifles were
recovered after the incident while one could not be
accounted for.
The prison armed squad was said to have been
overpowered but they immediately called for reinforcement
and the situation was brought under control after 40
minutes of gun duel with the inmates.
An anonymous prison official said about 17 hardened
criminals consisting kidnappers, drug barons, ex-militants
and armed robbers were brought to the prison two weeks
ago.
He said their arrival sent an alert that something untoward
might happen.
An eyewitness, Solomon Okoro, said two of the inmates
escaped through the broken fence but one of them was
apprehended by vigilant youths in the neighbouring Afokang
Street while the other escaped.
Okoro said, “We heard gun shots at about 11am. Although
gun shots within the prison yard is not new to us, but this
time it lasted for a long time. That was how we got to know
that there was problem. We stopped hearing the shots and
that was when the reinforced team started coming.
“We learnt the inmates exhausted their bullets. At the end of
which, the wall was broken, two escaped but one was
apprehended by some community youths.”
Reacting to the development, the state Controller of the
Cross River State Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service,
Mr. Clement Udosen, said no inmate escaped, confirming
that they actually got access to the armoury.
He said, “By 11 o’clock in the morning, I was in my office in
the headquarters, the DC in charge of this prison called me
that there was serious problem in the yard so I came and
the whole place was filled with people with rifles, people
who had come here to help us, the soldiers, police, civil
defence, state security service and others.
“Two of the cells’ inmates organized themselves and
overpowered the prison staff and rushed to where we have
the armoury, seized the rifles there and went back firing at
the staff. In that confusion they broke other cells and the
whole yard was filled with inmates. They carried what they
could get to break the fence.
“Luckily for now they have all been rounded up and nobody
has escaped. A lot of people have been injured and one staff
had been rushed to the hospital. Right now the doctors with
his team are treating those injured. On casualties (deaths), it
is the doctor that would ascertain that because he is treating
them.”
“Most of those injured are the inmates. Three of our staff
were wounded and one rushed to the hospital. There was no
external invasion. It was an attempted jailbreak and luckily
nobody escaped. The other security agencies helped us
especially the 13th Brigade of the Nigerian Army because
they stationed 10 solders here, morning and night and these
are the ones that really helped us. They encircled the
perimeter fence, as they tried to come out of the hole, the
soldiers were there and they could not come out.”

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