Unknown gunmen invaded the premises of a high court in Owerri, Imo state capital, on Friday, setting free a kidnap suspect identified as Henry Chibueze.
Officials had reportedly brought the suspect also known as Vampire to court alongside some other inmates.
No sooner than they arrived in the court did the gunmen, numbering six, storm the place, engaging security operatives in a shootout.
A witness, who narrated the incident to Channels Television, said some persons sustained injuries.
“We were here in the court premises when a lawyer came to call us to enter room three for hearing,” he was quoted as saying.
“Shortly after that we started hearing sporadic gunshots. About six gunmen entered the court and started shooting. Some people were even wounded.
“They came with a jeep and eventually they whisked away one of the inmates who the prisons officials brought to the court for hearing. The gunshot lasted over 10 minutes.”
Confirming the incident to reporters, Maduba James, spokesman of the state police command, said over five persons sustained critical injuries in the incident.
He told reporters that security operatives were on top of the situation to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in the state.
“We were in the office this morning when we got a call that some gunmen were in the court premises. We thought they were DSS officials because by then we were conveying over 50 inmates to the state High Court for hearing,” he said.
“However, the gunmen attacked some of our men and some of the inmates. They are critically injured now and have been taken to a hospital.
“Meanwhile, one of the inmates, who we know as Vampire, is at large presently but my controller and other security operatives are on top of the situation”.
Rochas Okorocha, governor of the state, has already pledged to give N5 million to whoever can provide useful information on the whereabouts of the suspects.
Chibueze was arrested in July.