Suspect, Mustapha Umar
Tobi Soniyi and Seriki Adinoyi
A Boko Haram member accused of masterminding last April's bombing of the offices of THISDAY, The Moment and The Sun in Kaduna will be arraigned Firday before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
According to security sources, the suspect, Mustapha Umar, will be arraigned on a one-count charge for a terrorist-related act.
He was alleged to have driven a white Honda Academy car with registration number AL 306 MKA, laden with improvised explosives devices into the premises of SOJ Plaza in Kaduna and detonated same.
Over 10 persons were reportedly injured as a result of the attack.
Umar’s planned arraignment is coming about two weeks after security agents arrested a Boko Haram terrorist and Shura member, Mohammed Zangina, aka Mallam Abdullahi/Alhaji Musa, who was believed to have coordinated the bombing of THISDAY’s Abuja and Kaduna offices.
Zangina was arrested on January 13 at the Government Reserved Area (GRA) in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
A statement by the Joint Task Force (JTF) spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, detailing how Zangina was arrested, said he was nabbed while trying to “plan several deadly attacks against civilians and security personnel any moment from today (January 13)”.
Although the JTF did not tie Zangina to the bombings of the Abuja and Kaduna offices of the media organisations, sources in the intelligence community said he masterminded the suicide bomb attacks on THISDAY office in Abuja, which left two dead (including the suicide bomber) and several injured.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 22 persons were feared dead yesterday in a fresh onslaught on Plateau State, resulting in increased tensions that nearly marred the Eid-el Maulud celebration in the state.
This time, the clash was not between the Fulani herdsmen and the Berom, but between the Fulani and native Taroh community in Wadata, a rural settlement in Wase Local Government Area in the southern part of the state.
A source from the community said the clash was triggered early Wednseday following the discovery in a nearby bush of a decomposing corpse of a young man who had earlier been declared missing.
This, according to a source, resulted in a reprisal and counter-reprisals during which 19 persons were killed on the spot and scores of houses torched.
Another source, however, put the number of the dead at eight “with several injured victims”.
Also, at Foron Junction in Hepiang village in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of the state, two persons suspected to have been killed by Fulanis were also found in a pool of blood. The villagers alleged that they were killed by Fulani herdsmen.
The killings caused serious tension in the locality and the state capital, Jos, where most residents chose to remain indoors during the Eid Maulud celebration.
Spokesman of the Special Task Force (STF), Capt. Mustapha Salisu, confirmed the death at Foron Junction, but said that he was not yet in a position to state that there had been an attack at Wase Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “I have heard that there was an incident around Wase but I have not found what exactly happened,” promising to get back to THISDAY with details later.
Also, the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, said that he had dispatched his men to Wase, but added that he was yet to confirm the casualty figure and other details.
Wase, in the southern senatorial zone of the state, is about 300 kilometres away from the state capital. The community was engulfed in communal crisis about a decade ago, during which hundreds of persons were killed, prompting former President Olusegun Obasanjo to declare a state of emergency on the state in May 2004.