No fewer than 13 inmates were on Thursday feared dead while many others sustained bullet injuries following a foiled jail break at the Abakaliki federal prison, Ebonyi State.
It was learnt that the one prison officer died in the melee.
Those injured were later rushed to the Federal Teaching Hospital in the capital city.
Sources told the Morning Mail that the trouble started when in the early hours of the day, some prisoners revolted against alleged poor treatment in the facility, especially inadequate feeding.
Sources further revealed that the inmates started rioting inside the prison and used every object within their reach to attack prison officers and consequently injured many.
The Prison Officers, it was learnt, returned fire for fire which resulted in the killing of several inmates while many others sustained gunshots.
Our source said: “If not for the rapid response of the combined team of the Prison officers, Nigeria police and Army drafted to the scene, the inmates had started escaping from the prison having over-powered the guards.
As at press time, Soldiers and Policemen had already cordoned off all roads leading to the Abakaliki prisons.
Gunshots were heard intermittently as Police and soldiers tried to recover a firearm allegedly taken from one of the prison officers by the inmates.
The rioting inmates had already succeeded in creating an opening on the wall before anti-riot policemen arrived and heavily tear gassed them into submission.
The prison is located beside the police headquarters, explaining the prompt intervention from the police.
Already, the Commander of Military cantonment and the commissioner of Police had visited the area and are directing the operations to restore sanity in the prison.
In a telephone interview, the state Comptroller of Prisons, Mrs Oputa Emilia did not give the exact number of casualties resulting from the incident.
She denied knowledge of any death or snatching of guns from the prison guards by the prison inmates.
But she admitted that the angry prisoners broke part of the fence and assured that the situation had been brought under control.
A high ranking prison official (name withheld) stated that some prisoners were actually killed as their bodies were being secretly evacuated from the prisons even as he insisted that the act was carried out in self defence.
It was also gathered that officers who took pictures of casualties were forced to delete them to avoid divulging it to the public.
Police spokesman for the state, George Okafor, told Morning Mail and that the command was still working hard to resolve the crisis.
He, however, refused to confirm if anybody was killed or not.
“There was an attempted jailbreak and the prisons called in the police. We cordoned off the area and restored nomalcy to the area”