There have been heavy gunfire exchanges around the vicinity of Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja and the headquarters of the Department of State Security, DSS on Sunday morning.
Residents of the area and security sources say sounds of gunshots could be heard coming from the DSS headquarters for over one hour on Sunday morning. Residents added that soldiers were later seen drafted onto the scene armed with armoured personnel carriers.
So far, there have been no official explanation from the Presidency on the cause of the shooting and the whereabouts of President Goodluck Jonathan who was said to have been whisked out of the Presidential villa to an unknown location following the shooting incident.
Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity could not be reached for comments. However, Marilyn Ogar, spokesperson of the DSS said the gunshots were triggered by an attempted jailbreak at the Service’s headquarters by suspected members of the extremist 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.
“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,” she said.
In spite of this explanation, it is yet not clear how detainees, held in the highly fortified SSS headquarters got guns with which they shot at soldiers and SSS operatives for over an hour.
For now, it is also not known whether there were casualties in the attack. In the meantime, military helicopters have been deployed and are hovering around the area.