Kidnapped French Nationals: FG Places Borders on Alert

21 Feb 2013

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Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr. Rilwan Bala Musa

Partners Cameroun government

Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja  

The Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Rilwan Bala Musa, yesterday said the nation’s borders had been put on red alert with a view to intercepting the kidnappers of the six French nationals believed to be heading towards the country from Cameroun.

This came on a day the Federal Government said it would collaborate with Camerounian security agents and other international allies to track down the kidnappers of a French family of seven in northern Cameroun.

But Musa, who disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, shortly after paying a courtesy call on Governor Kashim Shettima, said in order to keep the nation’s border safe and make officers comfortable, barracks would be built for officers across the borders.

According to him, “we have already sent alert messages across the North-east borders and all other borders of the nation.  We have told our men to be on the alert. We have given the borders posts all the supports they need to tackle them whether in the day or at night.

 “On the issue of manpower requirement, I think we are okay for now. We have decided to enforce the borders by removing personnel from the hinterlands to support those on the border areas.

“We have a collaboration with the Inspector General of Police (ig) in the area of sending some of our officers in the hinterland to Gwoza hills for training. We want to enforce the borders, which is the most important thing to do now.”

Earlier, Shettima had commended the initiative of the acting Comptroller General in procuring motorcycles and proposed building of barracks for his men in the border areas, even as he promised to release some new patrol vehicles to the NIS in the state.

Meanwhile, the IG, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, who spoke yesterday while fielding questions from journalists, when he received members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Abuja, disclosed that he was in touch with Camerounian diplomats in Nigeria and that both countries would synergise to rescue the abducted foreign nationals.

“The French President did not accuse Nigeria. What I do know is that some persons were kidnapped in Cameroun. I am in touch with the Camerounian Ambassador here in Nigeria. So, we are working jointly to arrest the people. However, you will not expect us to discuss the details of such issues on the pages of newspapers,” he said.

Abubakar told the visiting NFF members that with Stephen Keshi as the head coach of the Super Eagles, very soon, Nigeria will bring back the World Cup.

French President, Francois Hollande, had accused Islamist militants from Nigeria of abducting a French family of seven, including four children, in northern Cameroun on Tuesday.

The French nationals have faced the risk of attacks following France intervention in  Mali last month to help oust Islamist rebels occupying the country's north.

“They (French family) have been taken by a terrorist group that we know and that is in Nigeria. I see the hand of Boko Haram in that part of Cameroun. France is in Mali, and it will continue until its mission is completed,” Hollande told reporters during a visit to Greece.

The men on motorcycles, armed with Kalashnikovs, intercepted the family in their car at 0700 GMT and forced them to drive to the nearby Nigerian border, an aide to the governor of the province told an online media. The four-wheel-drive vehicle was later found.

When contacted, Spokesperson of the Department of State Service (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, said it would be too premature to comment on the incident, pointing out that the SSS would rather hold on to its traditional mode of secret policing.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, Kidnapped French Nationals, FG, Borders, ALERT

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