In line with the Department of State Service’s (DSS) renewed counter-terrorism measures to combat the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, the DSS has arrested 20 suspected leaders of the sect across the country.
They are Usman Shuaibu (a.k.a. Money) Ahmed Mohammed (a.k.a. Abubakar), Adamu Abubakar, (a.k.a. Baba), Ibrahim Musa, Mustapha Yusuf (a.k.a. Mohammed Sanni), Bakura Modu, Mustapha Ali Jamner, Abuji Sheriff, Babagana Ali, Babagana Soloy, Abba Modu Sagma, Grema Abubakar and Tijani Bagudu.
Others are Baba Alhaji, Abbas Ibrahim, Ibrahim Audu, Ibrahim Haruna, Mallam Ali Mohammodu, Adam Waki Abdul Jilbe and Mohammed Usman.
In a statement signed on behalf of the DSS by its spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, DSS confirmed the arrest of notable commanders and frontline members of the notorious group from different parts of the country.
He said that the group’s new pattern of movement and spread was necessitated by the pressure being put on them in their core areas of strength in the North-east.
Consequently, he said a number of them have been arrested in Lagos, Kano, Plateau, Enugu and Gombe States between 8th July and 25th August, 2015, adding that of particular note was the arrest on 8th July, 2015 in Gombe State of those responsible for the coordination and execution of the suicide attacks in Potiskum, Kano, Zaria, and Jos.
According to DSS, “Shuaibu revealed that he coordinated the attacks under reference with the sum of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00), which was provided by his Amir, one Isa Ali.
“He claimed that the said Isa Ali has links to the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, from where he collects monies to fund operations undertaken by their Markaz.
“Also, he revealed that he has participated in several Boko Haram attacks, including the attacks at Gwoza Divisional Police Station in 2014.
“Shuaibu admitted being the leader of the team of nine sect members who were dispatched from Sambisa Forest to carry out the attacks. He disclosed that four out of the nine of them were used as suicide bombers in executing all the (suicide) attacks.
“Ahmed Mohammed (a.k.a. Abubakar), an IED (improvised explosive device) expert, confessed to the preparation of the IEDs used for the mentioned attacks.
“He also averred that he (Abubakar) was the one who strapped the suicide bombers, notably Sule and his wives with IED vests, which they used in the attacks in Jos.
“Adamu Abdullahi (a.k.a. Baba), confessed that Usman Shuaibu motivated him to work closely with Ahmed Mohammed (a.k.a. Abubakar) in the preparation of the IEDs used in the attacks under reference.
“Ibrahim Issa confessed that he was the one who carried out reconnaissance on the targets in Jos ahead of the attacks.
“Muttaqa Yusuf (a.k.a. Mohammed Sani/Mudtaka) disclosed that one Aliyu, believed to be Aliyu Gombe, in Sambisa Forest, was the one who ordered the serial attacks which the syndicate carried out.
“He further confessed that he assisted Usman Shuaibu in planning and executing the said attacks.”
The DSS said other arrests made included Bakura Modu, who was arrested on 20th July, 2015 at Kara, Isheri Berger, Ikeja Local Government Area, Lagos State; Mustapha Alli Jameneri arrested on 24th July, 2015 at Gowon Estate, Egbeda, Alimosho Local Government Area, Lagos State; Abuyi Sherriff arrested on 7th August, 2015, at Ebute-Metta, Lagos Mainland Local Government Area, Lagos State; Babagana Ali and Babagana Koloye were arrested same day (7th August, 2015), at Eric Moore, Bode Thomas Street, Surulere Local Government Area, Lagos State; and Abba Modu Sagma nabbed on 9th August, 2015, at Ijora Badiya, Apapa Local Government Area, Lagos State.
Others are Grema Abubakar and Tijani Bagudu arrested on 10th August, 2015, at Amukoko, Ijora Badiya, Apapa Local Government Area, Lagos State; Baba Alhaji and Abass Ibrahim arrested earlier on the same day (10th August, 2015), at Alaba International Market, Alaba, Ojo Local Government Area, Lagos State; Ibrahim Audi arrested on 19th August 2015, at New Artisan Market, Enugu, Enugu State; Ibrahim Haruna, a 30-year-old suspect from Kanawa village, Sumaila Local Government Area, Kano State was arrested on 21st August, 2015 at Kwomi village, Kwami Local Government Area, Gombe State; Mal Ali Mohammodu, a 33-year-old suspect, was arrested on 22nd August 2015, at Ibrahim Taiwo Road, Fagga Local Government Area in Kano State; Adam Wakil Abdul Jilbe was arrested on 23rd August 2015 at Obanikoro Area, Mushin Local Government Area, Lagos State; and Mohammed Usman was arrested on 25th August, 2015 at Atuashe Estate, Gbagada, Kosofe Local Government Area, Lagos State.
“Nigerians and indeed the general public have to note that the arrest of Usman Shuaibu, a.k.a Money, and the core members of his cell, stemmed the spate of bombings by the extremist sect,” DSS said.
It said Money and his group were arrested on their way to Bauchi State where they had planned to execute another heart-rending bomb attack and this was frustrated by the arrest.
“Furthermore, the sudden influx of Boko Haram members into Lagos State points to the determination of the sect to extend its nefarious terrorist activities to the state and in fact, other parts of the country.
“The arrest of these self-confessed terrorist elements has however helped in no small measure to avert devastating attacks in the area. However, the service is making efforts to conclude its investigations and commence prosecution of the suspects.
“Drawing from the above, the DSS reiterates its avowed determination to work with other stakeholders in the fight against terror and other forms of criminality in our country.
“Citizens and residents are therefore called upon to rise to the occasion by volunteering useful information to the service and relevant security agencies,” the statement said.
But despite the wave of arrests in various states of the federation, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has revealed that one of the villages in the state was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents on Friday during which 56 persons were killed.
The governor, during a presentation of gifts on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to parents of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls on Saturday in Maiduguri, said 56 persons were killed in Baanu village in Nganzai Local Government Area of the state.
“The Boko Haram crisis is a calamity that befall us, as the insurgents do not discriminate whether someone is Christian or Muslim, nor does it respect tribal affiliations.
“Just yesterday (Friday) they killed 56 people in Baanu village of Nganzai Local Government and as I am speaking to you, their corpses are still littered on the streets of the village,” the governor said.
But those who fled from the attacked village, while narrating their ordeal to journalists in Maiduguri, insisted that more than 68 persons were killed in the attack.
One of the fleeing residents, Abba Mohammed, told THISDAY in Maiduguri that 68 persons were killed while several persons were injured during the attack.
Mohammed revealed that many insurgents came on horses at about 8.30 pm on Friday and went about killing everybody they came across.
He said: “We had to flee into the bush and hide and after they left we returned to pick some of our belongings and fled to Maiduguri, but before leaving I counted 68 corpses, some were slaughtered and some had gunshot wounds.”
Mohammed stressed that “the death toll may be higher as bodies were littered across the streets of the village”.
Mohammed, who called on government to take action immediately in order to arrest the killings in the area, added: “Something needs to be done fast, if not, they (insurgents) will continue to wreak havoc on innocent citizens, as every surrounding village close to Gajiram, the headquarters of Nganzai, has been taken over by the insurgents who continued to increase in number by the day.”