By Uduma Kalu
So, they eventually did it? Close observers of Boko Haram activities would say on hearing that the dreaded Islamic sect attacked Kano.
This is because as far as back July 28, 2011, Boko Haram had threatened to attack Kano. Since then, everybody knew it was only a matter of time before it carried it out. Last December 16, Thursday, gunmen attacked an air force school outside Kano, killing at least three air force personnel.
Immediately after this, there was a shootout on Saturday in Kano after a suspected Boko Haram leader discovered his house was under surveillance and called out other members of the group to attack police. Two of the police officers on surveillance duty in the northern city were killed. Reinforcements were sent, with one of those officers also shot dead and another wounded.
“Four of the syndicate members were shot dead,” Kano state police commissioner Ibrahim Idris said, referring to the suspected Boko Haram members. Some of the extremists fled, and the suspected leader, Mohammed Aliyu, who also goes by the alias Hamza, was arrested at a checkpoint, with members of the public pursuing the suspects.
Police said they found rifles in Aliyu’s car that had been stolen from police in Yobe and Kaduna states. Bomb materials were found in his house as well.
Raids were also carried out on other locations earlier in the week that led to arrests and the seizure of weapons and explosives. A total of 14 arrests were made in the operations.
One interestting report from the poice is that the suspects were not from Kano but from Borno and Yobe states, which have been hard hit by violence blamed on Boko Haram.
‘Kano will be worse than Maiduguri’
As far back as July, Boko Haram had threatened to attack Kano. It issued a warning signal to that effect to the Kano State government over the arrest of its members in the state, saying that it will not hesitate to launch a bloody attack on the largest commercial city in the North.
In an open letter addressed to the state governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Wamban Kano, Alhaji Abbas Sanusi and an elder statesman, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the sect frowned at what it described as persecution of its innocent members.
The sect also demanded that the security agents should stop arresting members of the group, saying that its arrested members should be released without further delay.
The open letter, which was signed by the assistant spokesperson for the group, Abu Zaid, was sent to a select group of journalists in Kano.
The letter reads in part, “It have (sic) come our notice that the present police commissioner, director, State Security Service (SSS) and Ward Heads have jointly started arresting our members in your state (Kano) known to you or not a situation which we will not take lightly by the grace of Allah.
“We want to made it clear that the country called Nigeria belongs to Allah same thing (sic) Kano and we are Servant of Allah. Therefore our member should allow to stay wherever they wish we did not Toch (sic) You therefore our members (Muslims) should not be touched.”
The group added it had issued the same to the late President Ya’Adua and the Borno State government in 2009 when the problem between the group and security agencies began. It warned that if the state government and aforementioned individuals ignored its warning, it insisted that the development would result in the destabilisation of the state.
It further said, “These same security agents attitude made Maiduguri which is known as Home of Peace before to what it is today because they know is not their home town, therefore these their ugly attitude most be check and stop with immediate effect and all those arrested should be released immediately, otherwise, I swear with Almighty Allah Who created heaven and earth! Who Sent Prophet upon Prophets right from Adam (AS) to Muhammad (SAW)!! Who Sent down Attaurah , Al -Ingil, Azzabur and the Holy Qur’an!!! We may be forced to deploy our men to your state Kano and make it worst (sic) than Maiduguri by the grace of Allah.”
The group further attributed the spate of killings in Maiduguri and bomb blasts in Borno and other parts of the country as genesis of the injustice meted out to their members, including the leader of the group, the late Ustaz Muhammad Yusuf.
“We appeal, you read this letter without prejudice for you to really understand the message we are trying to pass across. May Allah grant us the understanding of the religion as preached and practice by the prophets and their rightly guided companions,” the group added.
The above reasons were given by the group for its recet attacks on city. Last sunday, December 18, Boko haram, from its leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau and to journalists in Borno said, “The message here is that everybody knows that a lot of our people were killed in Kano State, especially in Wudil town. We had perfected plans to take revenge but some notable scholars intervened by pleading with us. They also assured that our members would never be persecuted again and we took them by their words.
“Unfortunately, however, about five months ago, security agencies began trailing and arresting our members, who are carrying out their legitimate businesses. They alleged that our members were thieves and armed robbers.”“Again, we perfected plans to attack the city of Kano but the scholars pleaded that we should not. They advised that we should write a formal letter of complaints to some notable people. We agreed and sent letters to the emir of Kano, Wamban Kano, Dan Masanin Kano and the governor of Kano State.
“We also posted the open letter on the internet but nothing was done to stop persecution of our members.“Recently, security agencies have launched a fresh onslaught on some of our members in Kano city in which even women and children were not spared. Many houses were raided and a pregnant woman was manhandled. Some of our members were tortured with electric. All these things happened in Kano, a city that we hold in high esteem.
“We have varied opinions about Kano, including the option of launching endless campaign of violence but the scholars that have been talking to us over and over are still persuading us to tarry a while. We are compelled to write this open letter so that the world will know what is happening.
“We want to re-emphasize that our main objective is the restoration of Sharia legal system in line with the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. We want the Nigerian Constitution to be abrogated and democracy suspended and a full fledged Islamic state established.
“We want to emphasize that trouble started in this part of the world when the white men came and colonized our lands, chased away the emirs and righteous leaders and then replaced the system with western legislative, judicial and executive procedures.
“They also changed our pattern of learning and upbringing to the detriment of moral teachings. That was exactly what prompted the establishment of our organization.”