A man arrested at the Borno State Governor’s Lodge over the deadly Madalla Christmas Day bombing escaped from police custody on Sunday while he was being conveyed to a location in Abaji area of Abuja, Daily Trust learnt yesterday.
Boko Haram suspect Kabiru Sokoto was arrested at the weekend during a police raid on the lodge, where he sneaked in through a friend who was given accommodation to stay overnight. He was said to be taken along with a Flight Lieutenant of the Nigerian Air Force to the Zone 7 Headquarters of the Police in Abuja.
Sources told Daily Trust yesterday that Kabiru was taken to Abaji on Sunday, where he is said to own a house, to allow police conduct search. But he escaped at about 5.30pm at Abaji.
Police went on a pursuit, firing shot and in the process a stray bullet hit and killed a 28-year-old man named Awwal Inuwa Ashafa, according to residents of the area.
Pandemonium ensued as people run for cover. Ashafa, who had an HND in Building Engineering from Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, was shot in the chest.
A witness said trouble started in the area when policemen from Abuja city brought Kabiru Sokoto in a Toyota Hilux van. A gang of youths flagged down the vehicle as it was heading for the Ona of Abaji’s Palace, creating a chaos during which the suspect escaped.
The police had earlier taken the suspect to a house he owned at Abaji to conduct search and were on their way to the traditional head’s palace when the youths saw him in handcuffs and then blocked the road, the witness said.
Kabiru seized the opportunity created by the youths and escaped. Meanwhile, the police fired shots in the air to disperse the youths, but one of the bullets hit a young man.
Our reporter, observed soldiers, riot police and men of the FCT Special Anti-Robbery Squad positioned at various junctions in Abaji, while a police armoured vehicle was also seen stationed in the town.
Abaji DPO, Superintendent Mathew Chukwkuma Okafor, was not available for comments. A senior police officer said four persons have been arrested over the incident.
But spokesman for the FCT police command Moshood Jimoh said no suspect escaped custody from either the Abaji divisional police or from any other police unit there.