There were reports of heavy gun fire around the SSS Headquarters in Abuja today.
The shots were heard by residents including former government officials, who live within the local Asokoro district of the State Security Service premises.
The building is a stone’s throw away from one of the gates of the presidential villa in Aso Rock.
A resident who spoke with Nigeria’s Premium Times said, “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.”
As a result of the confusion and lack of information, there was speculation as to whether the army was fighting the militant group Boko Haram within the vast premises of the SSS headquarters, as well as claims that the city was under siege for several hours.
However, spokesperson for the SSS, Marilyn Ogar has debunked any claims that the federal capital territory was under siege. In a statement to the press, 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,’ she said.
“It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control.”
There has been a lot of speculation in the media about the true nature of the shootings.
A post supposedly from the Facebook page of former FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir El Rufai reads,
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.
About 20 of the inmates are thought to have been killed while 2 officers of the SSS were injured in the attack.