The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje, Abuja.
This was disclosed on Wednesday in a statement written in Arabic shared via A’maq Agency, a news channel run by the Islamic State.
“Islamic State fighters penetrated the prison of the Nigerian government yesterday (Tuesday), in Kuje city, on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja, after demolishing its walls, and successfully liberated dozens of prisoners,” a translation of the statement read.
Tuesday night appeared to be the appropriate time for armed non-state actors to strike in the nation’s capital as they invaded the correctional facility, freeing hundreds of inmates in the process.
While authorities linked the attack to terrorists, a total of 64 Boko Haram fighters held at the centre for their roles in the insurgency in the North East were unaccounted for following the incident.
Amid widespread criticism sparked by the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari visited the scene for an on-the-spot assessment.
After being briefed on what transpired, the President expressed his disappointment with the intelligence at the facility with many questions, including how terrorists could attack a security installation and get away with it.
A researcher who analyses ISWAP activities in sub-Saharan Africa, Tomasz Rolbecki, also linked the attack on the correctional facility to the terrorist group.
“I wanted to believe it was not them (ISWAP), but here we are,” he said in a series of tweets while also quoting and sharing A’maq Agency’s video. “Watching the IS supporter groups right now, they are, as expected, absolutely ecstatic (sadly) and are using the same name as the campaign of prison breaks in Iraq in 2012-13 (the infamous “Breaking the Walls” campaign).
“There is one question to answer – how did ISWAP manage to do it? From previous claims, the cells that could’ve been responsible (I’m talking about the one in Suleja and the one in Kogi) seemed very small and unable to do something at such a scale.”