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JAIL BREAK! Protesters storm Kaduna prison, release 48 inmates

Posted by By KENNY ASHAKA, Kaduna on 2006/10/23 | Views: 516 |

JAIL BREAK! Protesters storm Kaduna prison, release 48 inmates


The serene atmosphere of Saminaka in Kaduna State was last Tuesday shattered as thousands of protesters stormed the prison in the town and freed 48 inmates.

The serene atmosphere of Saminaka in Kaduna State was last Tuesday shattered as thousands of protesters stormed the prison in the town and freed 48 inmates.

The protesters were demanding that one Mallam Rayanu Haliru, an Islamic cleric, be released to them for appropriate punishment, for allegedly insulting the holy prophet.

The protesters marched to the Saminaka prison at 1.03pm to free the inmate after burning down a nearby police station.

They carried dangerous weapons chantting protest songs and proclaiming that Rayanu deserved to die for insulting thier prophet. Soon, they jumped into the prison and forced out the inmates.

The police in Kaduna said on Thursday that about 19 of the protesters were already in their net for disturbing public peace
According the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, Ernest Ibhaze, the incident occurred on Tuesday in a village called Yar'kasuwa, a few kilometers from Saminaka town.

Ibhaze said that an argument between two youths over the interpretation of a portion of the holy book sparked off the violence.
"One of the youths said if anybody insults the prohpet, the punishment for him is death. The other asked if he was sure of what he was saying. He answered in the affirmative. That argument resulted into the unfortunate incident whereby some hoodlums broke into the Saminaka prisons and freed about 48 inmates," he narrated.

The Kaduna State police boss said some of the fleeing prisoners have been arrested, adding that a combined patrol of the Army and Police is now operational in Saminaka and its environs.
The Kaduna State Controller of Prison, Alhaji Umar Jibia also comfirmed the escape of the 48 prisoners and gave a graphic account of how they fled.

Jibia noted that although the target of the protesters was the police station, the nearness of the prison to the police station made some of them who may be ex-convict to storm the yard and free their friends.
"On Tuesday, around 1 pm, the officer in charge phoned me and said as he was speaking to me, people were attacking the prison. I told him to cool down. After one hour or two, I asked him for the details.
"What happened was that two boys were arguing. One of the boys told the other that if he insults the prophet, the punishment was death. The other one asked if it was true adding if he would be killed for insulting the prophet.

"The boy was said to have made certain comments against the prophet. The other boy now went to report to the village head. As they were trying to handle the matter, a preacher was asked if the boy was right. For supporting the boy who had said things against the prophet, the people went after him.
He was taken to the village head who, after much pressure from the people, transfered him to Saminaka where he was handed over to the police at the divisional headquarters. The police had to disperse the crowd with teargas.

"It was at this stage that they diverted to the police outpost near the prison. After burning the police post they decided to enter the prison. They forced their way through the first gate, but could not break the second, an iron gate.

"They now went round. And to tell you that some of the protesters were actually ex-convicts who knew the prison very well, they went to the wall where the kitchen is. And because smoke has weakened the wall, they broke it.

"When they started throwing stones, our people locked the gate. Some of them climbed the wall and went through the roof of the kitchen. They were armed with long knives, matchets and other dangerous weapons. They forced the inmates out. They (inmates) never wanted to go out.
"They were 48 of them that day, made up of 47 men and a woman. The woman prisoner was taken to the Chief Warden's house. The men escaped after being forced out.

"Before evening, about nine of the prisoners came back on their own and by 6pm that Tuesday, they were up to 12. Today, I hear they have increased to 15. Our dilemma was how to move them out.
"I have despatched a vehicle that they should move them to Zaria prison pending the repair of the damaged walls," he said.
However, no one was injured in the stampede, according to Jibia.

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