Friday 26 May 2023

Kuje attack: 400 inmates still on the run, says report

Ten months after the attack on the Kuje medium custodial centre in the Federal Capital Territory, over 400 fleeing inmates are yet to be recaptured.

The names, images, and prison identification numbers of the fleeing inmates who were declared wanted were sighted by our correspondent on Thursday on the Nigerian Correctional Service’s website.

On the website, a total of 460 fleeing inmates are still at large while 26 escapees have so far been recaptured.

The PUNCH reports that over 900 inmates, including 64 high-profile Boko Haram terrorists, fled the facility during a jailbreak on July 5, 2022.

Hours later, the Islamic State in West Africa Province claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video to buttress its claim.

Security operatives later launched a manhunt for the escapees and about 421 were recaptured.

To recapture the others, the Federal Government uploaded their data to the International Criminal Police Organisation’s database.

Also, the names, pictures and other data of the fleeing inmates were circulated to the various security agencies.

Out of the 26 recaptured inmates, 10 were linked with terrorism, 10 were categorised as others, two were said to be sexual offenders, two were jailed for stealing, and two were jailed for robbery and drugs.

When asked what measures the Correctional Service was making for the recapture of fleeing inmates and the responses from other security agencies, the NCoS spokesperson, Umar Abubakar, said, “Security issue has no time limit until one is able to achieve a set target. As such, all security agencies are on the same page looking for the escapees to be recaptured and brought back to custody and to answer for their offences. Until then, it is still a work in progress.”

Speaking on the implications of the slow recapturing of fleeing inmates, a security expert, Chidi Omeje, partly said.

“It is not the duty of the Correctional Service to go after these fleeing inmates. It behoves the DSS, police and other security agencies. As long as these fleeing inmates are still at large, more attacks will continue, especially in the North.”

“It is a big issue and the implications are dire. It pretty much explains why we keep having recurring bandits and terrorist attacks in North Central, and North-West because it is believed that those that escaped are high-profile terrorists. The fact that they have escaped and are yet to be recaptured, means that they might have moved into the forests which might be responsible for killings in Kaduna, Sokoto, etc. It calls for concern.”

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