Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS) said it arrested two commanders of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) in Abuja and a member of the terror group in Bauchi, thus thwarting the budding cells of ISWA and Boko Haram, as well as their plan to attack several targets across the country.
DSS in a statement signed by Mr. Tony Opuiyo Monday, said this was achieved after it conducted special operations on identified targets.
Opuiyo said special operations led to the successful arrest of Bashiru Adams and Rufai Sajo, both ISWA commanders, on May 5, 2018 at Kukuntu Village, Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He also stated that on April 28, 2018, at Muda Lawal Market, Bauchi, Bauchi State, it arrested another member of the ISWA, Umar Dogo.
“The suspects were discovered to have concluded plans to not only perpetuate the ideals of the Movement in the area, but to, in collaboration with Boko Haram, carry out heinous violent attacks on innocent persons,” DSS said.
The arrests made by the DSS is coming 48 hours after reports that the leaders of ISIS were sneaking fighters from Syria into Nigeria, which had been debunked by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
Opuiyo said that following intelligence reports, Adamu Hassab (aka Bale) and Abubakr Abubakar (aka Alhaji /Buba), experts in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) assembly, were arrested.
He also stated that on 12th and 19th April 2018, at Gassol and Ardo LGAs of Taraba State, Mohammed Saleh (Aka Azrak) and Iliyasu Abubakar (aka Ruwa), Boko Haram members and cattle rustlers were respectively apprehended.
The DSS Spokesman said that the Service in its determination to rid the country of crime, had singularly or in conjunction with sister security agencies embarked on series of operations aimed at degrading or eliminating the capabilities of unscrupulous elements, including suspected kidnappers, cultists, fraudsters, militia members and terrorists.
Opuiyo said that on June 27, 2018 at Karu Village, Abuja, two members of the dreaded Basalube kidnap group, namely Usman (aka Siddi) and Ibrahim Muhammed (aka Ganaja) were apprehended.
According to him, the duo had been involved in several kidnap activities, notably those of Sen. Ayodele Arise on December 5, 2017 in Kogi State and the late Portuguese national, Mr. Emmanuel Machada, earlier on October 24, 2017 during which two Policemen were killed in the same Kogi State.
He said that in order to flush out the Basalube kidnap gang, the Service further carried out an operation in which one of the group’s notorious members, Tambaya Umar, was arrested on April 24, 2018 at Odigie Village, Ovia North-East LGA, Edo State. He noted that Umar was arrested alongside Ibrahim Ali, Abubakar Mohammed, Aliyu Manu and Umar Mohammed for their complicity in the group’s numerous criminal acts.
In the same vein, Opuiyo said the DSS on March 27, 2018, at Calabar town, Cross River State, nabbed five members of a kidnap syndicate namely: Simeon Paul, Emmanuel Anna Etim, Eric John Out, Famous Eket Oleke and Felix Bassey Eshet.
He listed the items recovered from the gang to include: one AK-47 rifle; three empty AK-47 magazines; 38 rounds of live ammunition; two live rounds of 9mm ammunition; Mossberg pump action rifle; and 15 live cartridges of ammunition.
He stated: “On April 14, 2018, Adamu Hassan (aka Aiki), the dangerous gang leader of a kidnap syndicate was arrested at Ogbomosho, Osun State. Hassan was responsible for the kidnap of a Pastor at Ibillo, Edo State. Five Pump Action Rifles and Nine loaders were recovered from him during his arrest. Initial investigation and confessions of Hassan led to a follow-up operation on 23rd May, 2018. During this operation, Umar Andullahi (aka Wukari) and Hassan Ahmed, gunrunners and associates of Aiki were apprehended at Ishua, Akoko-South East LGA, Ondo State. The duo was in possession of five pump action rifles.
“Between 9th and 29th May 2018, several associates of the dreaded kidnapper, Terwase Akwaza (aka Gana) were arrested at various locations in Benue State. Those arrested are: Ada Kajo James, Tikaa Ornen Desmond and Joseph Ikpa. A Toyota Venza Sport Utility Vehicle was recovered from the suspects. Similarly, on 29th May, 2018, Umar Ali, leader of a kidnap syndicate notable for operating around Edo and Delta States was arrested at Oghara, Ethiope West LGA, Delta State. Also arrested were some of Ali’s lieutenants, namely: Faruk Bello, Bello Ali, Mohammed Ali and Abdullahi Ali. This gang was responsible for the abduction of a Turkish national in Ifaki, Ekiti State on 6th May, 2018.”
Opuiyo further stated that on May 14, 2018, the Service rescued a kidnap victim, Bimbo Adebiyi upon a raid of the group’s hideout at Grace Estate, Ajah, Lagos State.
He listed other members of the kidnap gang that were apprehended to include: Tunde Akinsola; Wakil Alade; Olumide Braimoh; Raymond Adingiou; Isiaq Abesin; Victoria Nwabueze; and Zabala Amolokwe.
Opuiyo stated that on May 9, 2018, around Katibu Village, Lau LGA, Taraba State, a joint team of the Service, the Military and the Police while on a clearance patrol, encountered an ambush by a group of armed herdsmen, numbering about 100.
“The operatives’ superior firepower forced a retreat by the attackers. However, during the confrontation, 10 herdsmen were killed and several others escaped with bullet wounds. The following items were recovered – two AK-47 rifles, one G3 rifle, three dane guns, two cutlasses, and four motorcycles. On May 25, 2018, Abdulhameed Musa and Adamu Abdulkareem, both members of a militia group terrorising villages in Nasarawa State were arrested at Yelwa Village, Doma LGA of the State.
“On May 24, 2018, along Lafia-Akwanga road, Nasarawa Eggon, Nasarawa State, an arms courier, Adamu Hamza was arrested while transporting arms and ammunition to kidnap syndicates operating within the Katsina and Zamfara Axis. The consignment was transported in a Red Volkswagen Golf car with Lagos registration number FK-390-EL. On 1st June 2018, a joint operation with the military at North Bank, Makurdi led to the arrest of Akpenlamun UTO, a notorious gunrunner and kidnap kingpin whose activities have no doubt fuelled violent attacks around this locality,” he added.
Opuiyo also said that on June 6, 2018, at the Boys’ hostel of Kogi State University (KSU), Anyingba, 14 suspected cultists were arrested over repeated cult clashes at the institution.
He listed items recovered from the suspects to include: one locally made pistol, browning pistol, shot gun, live cartridges; an axe, a machete and GSM Phones.
On the same date, he said an internet fraudster, Obinomhe Omonjele Daniel, who clones the social media accounts of security personnel, and uses same to defraud unsuspecting members of the public, was arrested at Egbe, Uromi, Esan North LGA, Edo State. He said while his other accomplices, particularly Sabi Boy, were on the run, investigations were ongoing.
He assured that with these arrests, it was envisaged that calmness will return to otherwise volatile areas where these criminals had held sway.
He further assured that the Service was poised to consolidate on these successes and bring about an atmosphere in which law abiding citizens will pursue their legitimate businesses.
The Service also called upon people who may have useful security information not to hesitate to volunteer same to the appropriate security agencies and formations.