National Security Adviser, Gen Owoye Azazi (rtd)
By Ibrahim Shuaibu, Seriki Adinoyi, Michael Olugbode and Yemi Akinsuyi
Barely 24 hours after the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) killed two Boko Haram members in Maiduguri, Borno State, five persons, including two members of the sect were yesterday feared killed in separate gun attacks with the security out in Kano metropolis.
The death of the five persons, however, came on a day six persons, including a mobile police officer were reportedly killed in two separate fracas in Barkin Ladi and Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
Similarly, gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram shot and killed an official of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Ibrahim Stanley Malgwi, in Maiduguri.
Miffed by the menace of the sect, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, was expected today to meet with officers and men on the rank of Commissioners of Police (CPs) and above at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on how to check the Boko Haram security challenge.
However, reports alleged that the sect members were killed by their own members at the Sheka area of the metropolis in Kano State.
However, eyewitness account said the sect members must have shot the two persons out of fear that their activities may be leaked to the security agents.
“They came on motorcycle shooting into the air and even wanted to shoot two persons in the area. But people in the area summoned courage and nabbed them. As they were planning to hand them over to the police, gunmen came from nowhere and shot them instantly to death before security men came to the scene.” He noted while pleading not to be named.
At Panshekara area of the state metropolitan, there were also a shoot out between the JTF and the gunmen, while on the process two women were killed when they were allegedly hit by stray bullet during a confrontation between JTF and suspected Boko Haram members.
Spokesman for Joint Task force (JTF), Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the incidents, adding: “Yes, two of the sect members were killed incidentally by their own members.”
According to him, “It is the handwork of patriotic citizens in the area who were fed up with the activities of the sect members. Gunmen came from nowhere and shot the two men dead even before we got to the scene of the incident.”
He added that residents attempt to alert the Police over the incident; two members of the sect raided the scene and shot dead two of the arrested members, apparently to forestall any leakage of information regarding their operation.
The JTF spokesman pointed out that: “The dead Boko Haram members, we learnt were arrested by members of the public in Sheka and sensing that their arrested colleagues could expose them when grilled by the authorities, the gunmen reportedly opened fire, killing two of them on the spot.”
It was gathered that soldiers condoned off the area with a view to ensure the return of the normalcy in the area.
In another incident on Zaria road, one unidentified person was killed in by unidentified gunmen, but the Police in the state said it was purely a robbery incident, which is now under investigation.
On the clashes in Jos, an eyewitness account said trouble began at Miango village late Sunday evening, when two groups of youths armed with knives at an annual festival celebration engaged themselves in fracas. In an attempt by the policemen drafted to maintain peace at the festival to arrest them, the youths went on rampage; damaging cars and also burnt a police station and a magistrate court in the village. Five persons were feared killed and two Police officers also injured in the process.
In a related development over the weekend a police officer attached to the special task force deployed to restore law and order was killed in Barkin Ladi local government of the state.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Samuel Dabai, an assistant superintendent of police (ASP), said the officer was attacked and killed by unknown gunmen who opened fire on him while he was sitting with some civilians, killing the police and injuring two of the civilians.
He said the corpse of the policeman had been deposited at the Vom Christian Hospital, while those injured were receiving treatment in the same hospital.
Malgwi death came days after the police authority in the state announced a cash rewards ranging from N500,000 to N1 million for any person who provided information which could lead to the arrest of the sect’s members.
Eyewitnesses in Abbaganaram, said “the gunmen who came on foot and trailed him to a local barber’s saloon and shot him dead while having a haircut.”
The eyewitnesses said the gunmen shot sporadically into the air to ward off anyone from going after them as they fled. The state’s Director of SSS, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi, confirmed the incident to THISDAY on phone.
Meanwhile, the meeting convened by Abubakar is expected to review strategies so far put in place by the Police Management Team towards flushing out the sect, also reviewed general crime bursting plans as well as new targets for the operations of the Police.
It was also gathered that new operational order and rules of engagement for assorted criminals, especially Boko Haram and Niger Delta Militants as well as kidnappers, would be handed over to all operational commands as well as all arms of the Police Intelligence Department.
The new IG is also billed to use the occasion to caution for the last time, officers and men of the Force who are said to be showing visible or latent signs of tilting towards Boko Haram, as well as those who have been suspected to have been having soft spots for the body to keep off or face the music.
Sources within the police circles told our reporter that, “the IGP has been studying the security reports left behind by his predecessor in office. You know that the DIG (Operations), Haruna John travelled to Jos on surveillance before he met his untimely death.
“His death has been linked to investigation he was about to conclude before he met his death. This has more than ever rekindled the IG and peeped up his resolve to get the Boko Haram people on their knees. He has put up several measures to see that the sect is brought to its end.
“Everyone knows that there is nothing like Boko Haram but, for convenience sake, we have decided to adopt the name given the sect by the media which was provided by the journalist in Borno State who is being monitored every now and then. His activities had led the security to lots of positive exploits in and around the sect.
“We have also broken lots of ground in the issue of piracy and activities of the Niger Delta Militants. We have a lot of information on them but the IGP wants to sound the last note of warning to those who might be leaning to these criminal elements after which we place them on full surveillance.
“As you can see, this meeting is critical and I can tell you that the IG will not leave anything to chance as he is determined to succeed. He has also elicited the support of all the DIGs as well as the AIGs who were elevated along with him in this project. The other police officers would be made to carry the message to their respective commands and implement what would be handed over to them,” sources stated.
Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olusola Amore, a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) confirmed the meeting but refused to provide details of what would be discussed.