Prison Break: Soldier, Amotekun Official Killed In Oyo, Manhunt Launched For 575
Prison break: Soldier, Amotekun official killed in Oyo, manhunt launched for 575 fleeing inmates
Security agents have launched a manhunt for fleeing 575 inmates of the Oyo Medium Security Custodial Centre, Abolongo, Oyo State, freed by gunmen around 9.30pm on Friday.
About 262 inmates had been reportedly recaptured.
The heavily armed invaders were said to have engaged and overpowered the officers on duty, blew up the walls with dynamite and gained entrance into the custodial centre where they released the inmates.
They reportedly killed two security agents – an official of Amotekun Corps and a soldier – while others were injured.
Some residents of the area where the prison is located claimed that a Fulani warlord, Isikilu Wakili, arrested at Ayete, the headquarters of Ibarapa North Local Government Area early in the year and taken to the correctional centre, was freed by the hoodlums.
However, Sunday PUNCH could not ascertain whether Wakili, who was accused of kidnapping and destruction of farms, was still at the prison as of the time the jailbreak occurred.
The latest attack made it 13 jailbreaks across the country in five years.
Saturday PUNCH had in a September report chronicled jailbreaks which officials blamed on shortage of armed squad, weapons, poor security architecture in prisons, among others.
On September 12, gunmen attacked the medium Security Custodial Centre in Kabba, Kogi State was attacked around 10.45pm, freeing 240 inmates out of 294 prisoners in custody. The Service however claimed to have rearrested 114 escapees.
Amid the violence that erupted from #EndSARS protests, hoodlums on October 19, 2020 attacked Oko and Benin correctional centres in the state, freeing 1,993 inmates. As of october 25, 2020, just 207 inmates had been rearrested or turned themselves in.
Three days after the Edo attacks, hoodlums broke into the NCoS centre in the Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State. They freed about 58 inmates, burnt vehicles and injured some officials.
Described by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregebesola, as the worst in the recent history of the country, hoodlums on April 5, 2021 broke into a correctional facility in Imo State with explosives and freed about 1844 inmates in an operation that lasted from 1am to 3am.
Speaking on the Oyo prison break, the Controller of Corrections Oyo State Command, Noel Ailewon, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the command, Olanrewaju Anjorin, said 262 of the inmates had been recaptured.
He said, “The invaders were said to have arrived at the centre heavily armed and after a fierce encounter with officers on guard, gained entrance into the yard using dynamite to blast the wall.
“While all the awaiting trial detainees were forced out of custody, the cells housing the convicts and the female inmates were not vandalised. A total of 262 of the escapees have been recaptured leaving 575 still at large.”
Efforts to speak with the Police Public Relations of Oyo State Police Command, Adewale Osifeso, on the number of those killed proved abortive. He did not pick calls to his phone and had yet to reply to text messages sent to him on it.
But the Commandant of Amotekun in Oyo State, Col. Olayinka Adeyanju (retd.), confirmed to one of our correspondents that one of his men was killed during the operation.
The state Governor, Seyi Makinde, in a live broadcast on Saturday commiserated with the families of the two slain security agents called for calm among residents, urging them to be on the alert.
Makinde said security agencies in the state had been put on red alert and directed to deploy personnel to critical national assets within the state and monitor all entrance and exit points across the state.
He said, “I am addressing you today to update you about recent happenings affecting the security of our state. Last night (Friday), security operatives responded to a distress call about a jailbreak in the Abolongo Correctional Centre, Oyo town. The correctional facility had been attacked with explosives, and some inmates were set free.
“Aside from the two lives lost, we had several operatives injured. I must mention that one of our Amotekun female volunteers, Shukurat Omoba, is presently in a critical condition. I have visited her at the hospital, and we are deploying all state resources to ensure that she survives this.”
Meanwhile, the Yoruba Socio-Cultural Association Worldwide also claimed Wakili escaped from the prison and charged security agents to re-arrest him.
The National President of the YYSA, Olalekan Hameed, who said this in a statement on Saturday, stated.
“Our attention has been drawn to the coordinated jailbreak by suspected terrorists in Oyo town which led to the escape of hundreds of inmates including Isikilu Wakili. We express sadness over the loss of lives of some security agents during the operation.”