30 Killed in Boko Haram, SSS Gun Duel
No fewer than 30 persons were killed early Sunday morning when Boko Haram insurgents attempted to seize the national headquarters of the Department of State Security otherwise known as State Security Service (SSS).
The attempt to seize control of the SSS headquarters led to a heavy gun battle that began at bout 8am and didn't end until about 11.30am.
The SSS headquarters is less than 100 metres from the Aso Rock Villa, the official residence of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Both men were reportedly not in the Villa at the time of the attack.
A large number of the casualties are believed to be the insurgents. At least 100 members of the Boko Haram sect are detained in the SSS facility.
There were conflicting accounts on what triggered the gun battle.
One SSS source said an insurgent disarmed an SSS operative and a doctor detailed to treat him (insurgent).
“The insurgent then turned the weapon on the operatives. Other operatives responded. When other insurgents attempted to cash in on the
melee, our men responded. That was the reason for the sustained gunfire,” a top official told Pointblanknews.com.
It was gathered that soldiers from nearby Lungui and WU Bassey barracks were hurriedly deployed to duel the uprising. However, the SSS official insisted that the soldiers' presence was only to cordon off the area, and not to contain the insurgents.
“We had the situation firmly under control. What the soldiers did was to ensure that none of the insurgents escaped into the adjoining Presidential Villa.
A Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who lives close to the SSS headquarters, told Pointblanknews.com that it was the gunfire that roused him from sleep.
“For about three hours there was sustained heavy gunfire, suggesting that the persons being fought may also have been heavily armed,” offered Fani-Kayode.
“Later, we saw soldiers and heavy military equipment moving from the barracks into Aso Drive. We were so scared because never had such happened in the area,” he added.
At about 12pm, Pointblanknews.com observed that all roads into and out of Aso Drive had been blocked by stern-looking soldiers. Traffic was diverted from the popular Shehu Shagari Way on which the federal secretariat is located.