Security was quickly beefed up around the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday morning as heavy shootings were recorded at the neighbouring headquarters of the State Security Service known as Yellow House.
The SSS headquarters is located behind the Villa.
The access gate to the seat of power through the Fire Service office in Asokoro was quickly shut while more heavily armed soldiers were seen at the gate leading to the Villa through the Federal Secretariat.
Military helicopters were also seen hovering the sky at the time of filing this report.
Our correspondent who attempted to access the SSS headquarters area through the Aso Drive was turned back alongside other motorists in front of the Millennium Park by armed SSS operatives.
An operative who pleaded anonymity told our correspondent that trouble started earlier in the day when one of the suspects in the service’s custody overpowered an operative who was in his cell to feed him.
The suspect was said to have shot the operative with his own rifle and went ahead to release his co-suspects.
The source said, “An operative went to feed a suspect this morning. The suspect was not properly chained, so he pushed down the operative and quickly dispossessed him of his rifle and shot him.
“He quickly released his co-inmates who started escaping with some scaling the fence.”
The incident led to a gun battle between the suspects and the SSS operatives.
Our correspondent learnt that in the process, no fewer than 18 suspects were killed while about 20 were re-arrested with two rifle recovered from them.
Two SSS operatives were also said to have been critically injured.
At the time of filing this report, security operatives were still combing the thick bush that surrounds the headquarters in search of remaining fleeing suspects who were said to have scaled the fence.
As the news of the incident spread, security was also quickly beefed up at the Nigeria Police Force headquarters called the Louis Edet House located in Area 11, not too far from the Presidential Villa.
An Armoured Personnel Carrier was used to completely block a lane on the road leading to Federal Secretariat with motorists driving one way.