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Escape of suspected bomber: IGP queried, faces sack – Minister

By KINGSLEY OMONOBI & DANIEL IDONOR
ABUJA—AS anger mounts in Aso Rock over the and avoidable escape, Tuesday, of Alhaji Kabir Sokoto, the suspected bomber of the St.

Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, on Christmas day, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim has been queried over the incident and faces sack if he is found guilty of complicity. This came even as President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered a full-scale investigation into the matter.

Ringim: Police IG.

Alhaji Sokoto who was arrested Saturday night at the Borno State Government lodge, Abuja, following a tip-off, escaped while he was being conveyed to Abaji by a team of policemen for a further search of his house.

Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd) who fielded questions from State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting declared that himself and the IGP, and indeed any other person who is found culpable will be fired by the President.

“It is true that the Inspector General has been queried, that is true because he is the field officer, he has the responsibility to ensure that all operations regarding arrest are conducted in a professional manner. If he is found guilty of complicity, he himself will have to account for his mistakes”, he said.

According to him, although the Police Commissioner, Mr Zakari Biu, in charge of investigations who ordered that search operation that led to the offensive escape of the suspected Boko Haram kingpin, has been suspended, he has also directed that Mr Biu be placed under house arrest.

He said: “I have also directed that the officers and personnel involved should be detained immediately. You would have seen in the papers that the commissioner of police has been suspended, in fact beyond that, I have ordered that he should be placed under house arrest”.

Capt. Olubolade described the incident as unfortunate but assured that “measures will be put in place now to address the issue of the escape. From the ministry I have directed the IG to carry out full investigation and even at higher level above that one there will be another investigation to ascertain what led to the suspect’s escape”.

Asked if the escape was an indication that there has not been a good working relationship between the police and the ministry, he said “ it is not an indication. If somebody has erred in his responsibility, the outcome of the investigation will prove that. What is important is that whatever steps we are going to take as a result of this neglect we have to take it immediately”.

He added that all steps must be taken to re-arrest the suspect. According to him, “while that is pending, the officers involved who conducted the search must be detained so that the outcome of the investigation will lead to whatever punishment that will be given”.

Police launch manhunt for his re-arrest

Meanwhile, as the police launch a new man-hunt for the re-arrest of  Kabiru Sokoto, fresh facts have emerged on how he was arrested through tracking devices recently installed at Force headquarters.

Police sources told Vanguard that the runaway suspect whose nickname is Kabir Sokoto was the second in command to the leader of the Boko Haram sect Shekau Shekau, who took over the leadership of the group after the killing of their leader Mohammed Yusuf in 2009.

The source revealed that Sokoto, who was not even the second, took over as second in command with the responsibility of coordinating its bombing activities, that have terrorized the country in the last one year. According to the reliable source, Sokoto has been on the wanted list of the police as one of the leaders of the terror group.

He noted that information filtered to the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, that Sokoto has sneaked into Abuja to coordinate his terror group in a bid to unleash another mayhem in the nation’s capital. Following the revelation and contacts Sokoto was making through his GSM phone, the IGP tracking unit discovered that the call was being made from somewhere in Asokoro Abuja.

The source disclosed that the ACP in charge of the tracking unit, moved to Asokoro, but narrowed them down between the Borno and Jigawa government lodge, which share a common fence. Immediately the lorry load of anti-riot policemen ransacked the Jigawa lodge, but could not find anything, while the tracking device continued to indicate that the last call was made around there.

However, the officer immediately moved into the Borno lodge at about 2a.m. Monday morning where Sokoto was discovered hiding in the lodge and was immediately arrested.

Vanguard gathered that it was during interrogation that Sokoto confessed that they have a hideout at Abaji, which is about 70 kilometres to Abuja, from where the activities to attack FCT were being coordinated.

The source further revealed that it was on their way to Abaji early Monday morning that the police team escorting the suspect was attacked and in the confusion that ensued, Sokoto escaped.


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