By Luka Binniyat & Ndahi Marama
MAIDUGURI — OFFICIALS of the State Security Service, SSS, in Borno State, yesterday, confirmed that they have dealt dreaded sect, Boko Haram, a major blow by arresting the spokesman of the group Abul Qaqa. He was reportedly arrested in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The arrest, according to Vanguard findings, was effected via GPS tracking of the top Boko Haram chieftain. It was learnt that the SSS has flown Qaqa to Abuja for further interrogation.
A top official of the SSS in Borno told Vanguard on telephone that: “We have finally picked him up and he is currently in our custody; you can report that as a confirmed development”.
Also confirming the arrest of Abul- Qaqa, one of the sect members in a telephone interview with newsmen in Maiduguri said: ‘’Our spokesman Abul- Qaqa was arrested by security operatives yesterday.”
He, however, did not state where in Maiduguri the arrest was effected but he said, in Hausa: Nakira ku in gaya muku cewa an kama Mallam Qaqa, meaning “I called to tell you that security agencies have arrested one of our scholars, Mallam Qaqa.” The first spokesman of Boko Haram, Ali Sanda Umar Kondoga alias Usman Alzawahiri was arrested on November 3, last year.
The arrest of Qaqa came against the backdrop of claims in Kaduna yesterday by the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, that the ultimatum by the Boko Haram Islamic sect on southerners living in the North to quit was in reaction to an earlier order by South-South militants on Northerners to quit their area.
ACF said that the South-South militants were the first to ask northerners living in their area to leave, adding that this was what made the Boko Haram to issue the same ultimatum on Christians and other southerners to leave the North.
Last weekend, Qaqa had threatened that Boko Haram would unleash terror against the people of Sokoto in the same manner it attacked Kano city the previous week following allegations that security agents had been arresting members of the group indiscriminately in the seat of the Caliphate. He had asked the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar 111; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and the Acting Governor of the state to intervene to prevent the proposed attack.
90% of Boko Haram victms are Muslims — ACF
But, ACF, further said after an emergency meeting in Kaduna that 90 per cent of Boko Haram victims were Muslims. The ACF accused the South-South region of first issuing ultimatum to northerners resident in the South-South to leave the area, which forced Boko Haram to respond by asking southerners to leave the North. The group then called on the Federal Government to guarantee the safety of Boko Haram members should they come out for dialogue.
The ACF descended heavily on those it said were unfairly accusing the north of plotting to kill President Goodluck Jonathan among other things, asking that such people should be arrested and prosecuted.
The Chairman of ACF, Alhaji Aloko Mohammed who addressed the press alongside other chieftains of the forum, said that of the 2000 people said to have been killed by Boko Haram in the past one year, northern Muslims were worst affected. “People should know that there are more northern Muslims killed out of these 2000 that we are talking about.
‘’More than 90 per cent of those killed are northerners. Boko Haram is really more of our enemy than the rest of Nigeria. The issue of Boko Haram giving Southerners time to leave the North, I think if the Newspapers are to be fair to themselves, this was started by the South-South.
‘’They said that Northerners should leave their areas, and gave them three days notice. Looking at the number of Southerners that are there in the South-South, and the Southerners in the North, some other northerners looked at it and said, ‘well why not also look at it the other way round. We are not speaking for Boko Haram.
‘’The ACF notes with grave concerns some serious allegations peddled by certain people to the effect that some people from other sections of the country were conspiring to cause high level of insecurity across the country with the clear intention of making the country ungovernable.
“Some of these allegations go as far as saying that there are plots to assassinate the President. They also allege that southerners were not only being killed but that their attempts to flee the North were being blocked by Northerners. ‘These allegations have been written and widely publicized in the media. Considering the gravity of the allegations bordering on treason, the forum calls on the government, as a matter of urgency, to investigate them for the purposes of prosecution.
“The Federal Government should commit itself openly and unambiguously in guaranteeing the security of leaders of Boko Haram when eventually they come out for dialogue as promised by Mr. President.
“Government should continue to persevere, uncover the true identity of these people, to be able to determine their demands or grievances and address those that may be genuine and in accordance with our laws.
“ACF calls upon all people of good conscience who may have access to members of Boko Haram to urge them to take advantage of secure channels of communication to be provided by the Federal Government towards achieving a resolution of the current bloody impasse,” he said.