By Kemo Cham
Minister of Information, Cherno Bah has confirmed the reported breach of security at the Pademba Road prison in Freetown.
Mr Bah said the maximum security facility located the capital city was among an unspecified number of detention centers targeted by the attackers who stormed the Wilberforce Barracks earlier on Sunday, leading to widespread violence in some parts of the city.
Reports had indicated that all of the prisoners had been freed after Pademba Road Prison was attacked. Video footages shared online show some of the prisoners walking along the streets. In one footage, the jailed rapper, LAJ, is seen walking alongside a group of young men thought to be some of the freed prisoners.
According to Mr Bah, the attackers took away some of the prisoners when the penetrated the facility.
“In the interest of protecting civilian lives (including of prisoners), the security forces were forced to make a tactical retreat. The prisons were thus over ran. Some prisoners were abducted by the assailants while many others were released,” Bah said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
He also said that security forces were making progress in their operation to defeat and apprehend the people behind Sunday’s attacks, noting that they had pushed them back to the outskirts of the city, around Jui, were they now engaging them.
A resident of Jui confirmed to ManoReporters hearing the sound of gun firing in the early afternoon, after the place had been quiet throughout the morning hours when the shooting was concentrated in city center.
“The government remains in control and on top of the situation,” stressed Mr Bah, adding: “Most of the city is calm and under control of the state security forces.”
Mr also dismissed rumor that the headquarters of the public broadcaster, SLBC was on fire.
“SLBC is not on fire and not under siege. The [Director General] of SLBC is doing his work and has not been arrested,” he added.