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Friday, April 4, 2014

SHOCKING: Boko Haram Attack Presidential Villa, SSS Headquarters?

There have been heavy gunfire exchanges around the vicinity of Nigeria’s presidential palace and the headquarters of the Department of State Services in the Asokoro District of Abuja in the past one hour, security sources and residents of the area said.
The expansive headquarters of the State Security Service, popularly known as Yellow House, is almost adjacent one of the remote gates of the presidential villa.
Residents of the nearby Aso Drive Area said the gunshots were either coming out of the SSS headquarters or the presidential villa.
A resident of the area told PREMIUM TIMES, “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.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, could not be reached for comments.
But the spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said the gunshots were triggered by attempted jailbreak at the Service’s headquarters by suspected members of the extremist Boko Haram sect.
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.
“It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control.”
It is however not clear how detainees, held in the highly fortified complex, got guns with which they shot at soldiers and SSS operatives for over an hour.
It is also not known whether there were casualties in the attack.
Military helicopters have now been deployed and are now hovering around the area.
A resident of the area, Yoosooph, twitted as follows during the attack.
View image on Twitter
Our soldiers taking cover from the invaders/attackers! pic.twitter.com/EeYqnLZyrc
— Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014
View image on Twitter
Chopper hovering over my head and searches continue! God help Nigeria!
— Yoosooph (@ciaxon) March 30, 2014
View image on Twitter
Another resident, Bashir Yusuf, tweeted:
With gunfire & this chopper hovering endlessly over my house, I pray the pilot doesn't mistakenly drop ordinance & plead the targeting of BH
— EagleEye (@bashiryusuf) March 30, 2014
UPDATE: El Rufai, Femi Fani-Kayode react
UPDATE 1: Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and resident of the Asokoro District of Abuja where the SSS headquarters is located, Nasir El-Rufai, just posted the below comment on his Facebook page:
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.
UPDATE 2: Another resident of the area, Femi Fani-Kayode tweeted:
Source: Premium Times
UPDATE: Attack under control - Military
Suspected Boko Haram members Sunday morning attacked the headquarters of the Department of State Services.
It is believed that the attackers were on a mission to free their captured leaders being detained at the SSS office.
Yellow House as usually called, is located within the vicinity of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, which also houses the Supreme Court and the National Assembly.
But the attack was promptly repelled as other security forces, including the military were immediately mobilised.
Presently, all roads leading to the Three Arms Zone have be cordoned off and vehicles are turned back.
Reports however say Presidential Villa is calm. The Sunday service at the Chapel went on as scheduled.
Meanwhile, various points in Abuja city as well as some roads leading to the nation’s capital are under lock down.
Armed Nigerian Air Force personnel are noticeable at roads leading to the airport, while military helicopters have been deployed around the city, especially around Aso Rock.
No word yet from the federal government but spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, confirmed an attempted jailbreak at the Service’s headquarters by the Boko Haram sect.
“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, she said.
“The military was quickly called in before they could do any harm and that is responsible for the shootings you heard.
“It was an attempted jailbreak but it has been brought under control.”
Source: Daily Post
UPDATE: What happened
Security was quickly beefed up around the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday morning as heavy shootings were recorded at the neighbouring headquarters of the State Security Service known as Yellow House.
The SSS headquarters is located behind the Villa.
The access gate to the seat of power through the Fire Service office in Asokoro was quickly shut while more heavily armed soldiers were seen at the gate leading to the Villa through the Federal Secretariat.
Military helicopters were also seen hovering the sky at the time of filing this report.
Our correspondent who attempted to access the SSS headquarters area through the Aso Drive was turned back alongside other motorists in front of the Millennium Park by armed SSS operatives.
An operative who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that trouble started earlier in the day when one of the suspects in the service’s custody overpowered an operative who was in his cell to feed him.
The suspect was said to have shot the operative with his own rifle and went ahead to release his co-suspects.
The source said, “An operative went to feed a suspect this morning. The suspect was not properly chained, so he pushed down the operative and quickly dispossessed him of his rifle and shot him.
“He quickly released his co-inmates who started escaping with some scaling the fence.”
The incident led to a gun battle between the suspects and the SSS operatives.
Our correspondent learnt that in the process, no fewer than 18 suspects were killed while about 20 were re-arrested with two rifle recovered from them.
Two SSS operatives were also said to have been critically injured.
At the time of filing this report, security operatives were still combing the thick bush that surrounds the headquarters in search of remaining fleeing suspects who were said to have scaled the fence.
As the news of the incident spread, security was also quickly beefed up at the Nigeria Police Force headquarters called the Louis Edet House located in Area 11, not too far from the Presidential Villa.
An Armoured Personnel Carrier was used to completely block a lane on the road leading to Federal Secretariat with motorists driving one way.
Source: Punch