8th September, 2010
A group suspected to be members of Boko Haram Islamic sect last night overpowered the police and set the Bauchi Central Prison on fire after they freed over 300 inmates.
An eye witness told P.M.NEWS that the group, numbering over 200, armed with assorted dangerous weapons stormed the prison located at the Kofan Fada area of Bauchi at about 7:30p.m. and overpowered the Mobile Policemen at the gate of the prison, freed over 300 inmates including 164 of their members on remand before setting the prison ablaze.
Confirming the incident to P.M.NEWS in Bauchi last night, the state Police Commissioner, Alhaji Danami Yarâ€™Adua said the group took the police unawares.
He said that though no arrest had been made, his men have spread a dragnet to track down the attackers and the fleeing inmates.
The police boss did not disclose the number of casualties in the attack, but said investigation was on ongoing and the number of the victims, if any, would be disclosed soon.
The police boss, however, said the situation had been brought under control.
When P.M.NEWS went round the streets of Bauchi this morning, there was heavy presence of armed military and policemen on patrol while some residents were seen packing their belongings out of Bauchi to nearby Plateau and Gombe states.
It was gathered that after releasing the inmates, the group, who drove to the prison in a convoy of vehicles and motor-bikes shot into the air several times to scare away security agents in an operation that lasted over 45 minutes.
P.M.NEWS learnt that the mobile policemen and armed prison officials at the gate of the prison fled for their dear lives while the group made their way into the prison, forced open all the doors to the cells and freed the inmates.
According to sources, after freeing the inmates, the group blew a whistle as a sign of identification for their 164 members remanded in the prison custody to assemble in one place before they were driven away in about 4 pick-up vehicles.
The 164 members of Boko Haram were suspected to have taken part in last yearâ€™s religious riot in some parts of the Northern states and have been standing trial in a Bauchi magistrateâ€™s court.
P.M.NEWS gathered that relations and some members of the group have been trying to secure the bail of the 164 members of the Boko Haram but were unsuccessful.
Two reasons, we gathered, were responsible for their action . First, their desire to release their colleagues, who have been incarcerated since last year and secondly, to send signal to government that the fundamentalist group still exists despite the killing of its leader,Â Mohammed Yusuf.
Meanwhile, the authorities in Nigeriaâ€™s northern state of Borno have imposed a 6 p.m. to 7a.m. curfew on the movement of motorcyle taxis in the state, following a spate of mysterious killings by bike riders in the state, the local press reported Tuesday.
The report quoted Borno State Police Commissioner, Ibrahim Abdul, as announcing the governmentâ€™s decision in Maiduguri.
â€œWith the revealing security situation on ground where police officers and some members of the general public are being shot and killed by unknown persons using motorcycles, the state government deems it fit to further review the restriction of movement from 6p.m. to 7a.m.,â€ he said.
Analysts believe the unknown killers may be connected to the Islamic religious sect, Boko Haram, which perpetrated a deadly religious violence across several states in the north last year.
Borno is the base of the sector, which forbids Western education.
â€”Ben Adaji/Bauchi & Adi Femi/ Kaduna, with agency report