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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Wanted Boko Haram Chief among 486 Suspects Arrested in Abia State


Cross section of Suspected Boko-haram Insurgence arrested between Aro-Ngwa and Imo gate along Enugu-Portharcort Express way in Abia state by the Nigerian Army attached to the state, insert are their (33) buses.
The Defence Headquarters said yesterday that a wanted terror suspect was among the 486 arrested in Abia en-route to Port-hacourt. 
It also said other security agencies and para-military organisations had joined the ongoing screening of the suspects.
The Director of Defence Information, Gen. Chris Olukolade, in a statement last night in Abuja, said:
“A terror kingpin on the list of wanted terrorists of security forces in Nigeria has been detected in the ongoing screening of the 486 suspects nabbed while travelling in over 33 Hiace Hummer buses at night along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway last Sunday.
“So far, other security agencies including the para-military have joined “the screening exercise to ascertain the status of the remaining suspects.
“Those identified as possible security risk or illegal immigrants are expected to be identified for further action.
“Meanwhile, the identified terror kingpin has been taken into custody.  Further development will be communicated to you in due course.”
Although the statement was silent on the wanted  kingpin, the defunct Joint Task Force (JTF)  on November 23, 2012  placed ransom on 19 leaders of Boko Haram.
It was not immediately clear if the arrested suspect is in the category of the wanted 19.
The list  had five members of the Shurra Committee (the highest making body of the sect) and 14 Boko Haram commanders.
But one of the Shurra  Committee members, Mohammed Zangina(a.k.a Mallam Abdullahi/Alh. Musa), with a N25million ransom, was allegedly killed in a shoot-out with the Joint Task Force(JTF) in Maiduguri.
With Zangina dead, those still wanted and the ransom on them are: Imam Abubakar Shekau (N50million); Habibu Yusuf (a.k.a Asalafi) N25million; Khalid Albarnawai ( N25million); and Momodu Bama (N25 million).
The fate of Momodu Bama is unknown following conflicting reports on whether he is alive or dead.
The Boko Haram Commanders wanted by the JTF are  Abu Saad (N10million); Abba Kaka (N10million); Abdulmalik Bama (N10million) Umar Fulata(N10million); Alhaji Mustapha (Massa) Ibrahim (N10million); Abubakar Suleiman-Habu (a.k.a Khalid) N10million; Hassan Jazair N10million; Ali Jalingo (N10million); Alhaji Musa Modu (N10million); Bashir Aketa (N10million); Abba Goroma (N10million); Ibrahim Bashir (N10million); Abubakar Zakariya (N10million); and Tukur Ahmed Mohammed (N10million).
Security agents are baffled that most of the 486 Boko Haram suspects arrested in Abia State do not know Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where they claimed to be heading to.
Besides, they did not know their mission in the Garden City, a source close to the investigation told The Nation.
The suspects were arrested on Sunday by officers and men of the 144 Battalion in Asa, Ukwa west Local Government Area.
They were travelling in 35 buses at about 2.am.
“Our investigators had been looking at a crucial bend: What would have informed such number of people at a go when there was no pending major activity in Port Harcourt,” a source said, pleading not to be named.
“The probe became more curious upon discovery that some of them escaped in two or three buses. If you have nothing to hide, why running away from the military or security agencies.
“Some of those grilled admitted that they don’t know what they were going to do in Port Harcourt and they have never visited the city. They said they cannot find their way to Port Harcourt.
“So, they cannot really confirm where they were heading to and what they were going to do. These facts came out of the preliminary grilling of the suspects.”
But the source noted that it was still early to conclude that the suspects were actually Boko Haram insurgents or not.
Only a comprehensive investigation, which is going on, can reveal the true identities of the suspects, it was learnt.
“We will trace them to their take-off point; their families; their mission and their sponsors. Definitely, they started their journey somewhere,” the source said.
The source also said “the idea of claiming that Northerners were arrested could ignite tension nationwide as if the military is isolating them for a purpose.
“We are not against Northerners moving to any part of the country. But alleged security breach, especially suspicious movement in the dead hours of the night cannot be discountenanced,” he said, adding:
“We appeal to Nigerians to see the security challenge facing the nation as a common problem which we must collaborate to tackle.
“The military will release its findings to the public. If they have a genuine mission, then we will release them and give these people security advisory on their movement next time.
“And if they are on a dangerous mission to Port Harcourt, the law will take its course, with fairness to all. The ultimate objective is to secure every part of Nigeria.”
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