By Andah John

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Reports from Imo State say a suspect standing trial for kidnapping has escaped from the premises of  Imo High Court following a shootout between gunmen and security operatives.

The suspect is Henry Chibueze, popularly known as Vampire,

The attack was said to have left several persons wounded. But we have yet to confirm any death.

According to an eyewitness, men perceived to be members of a gang attacked the security personnel when the suspected criminal and other inmates arrived at the premises of the court in the state capital,  Owerri.

Concise News gathered that the six-man gang found their way into the court premises shortly after over 50 inmates were conveyed to court for hearing of various suits filed against them.

Several people wounded

The gunmen were said to have opened fire on the security personnel and inmates at the court, shooting sporadically into the air which left several people wounded.

The aforementioned eyewitness further said the gunmen were able to take away Chibueze, whom was said to have been in prison since July 2015. He was  described as a “notorious criminal and kidnapper”.

“We were here in the court premises when a lawyer came to call us to enter room three for hearing. 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,” the eyewitness told newsmen.

Police confirm incident

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force in Imo State, Maduba James, confirmed to reporters that the suspect ‘Vampire’ was presently at large.

James further said more than five persons were seriously injured in the attack.

The police spokesman explains what happened: “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.

“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.”