By Taye Obateru, AbdulSalam Muhammad, Wole Mosadomi, Joseph Erunke & Boluwaji Obahopo
A family of six including a six-month old child and a 70-year old grandmother were yesterday brutally murdered by gunmen at Kumpun village in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. In Lokoja, capital of Kogi State, the police command has discovered a hideout in Koto – Karfe area of the state where guns were being locally manufactured.
In Kano State, the Joint Military Taskforce, JTF, also yesterday discovered a high calibre Improvised Explosive Devise, IED, in the premises of Waje Friday Jumat Mosque in Fagge Local Government Area of the state. The JTF also arrested four persons while allegedly trying to plant the bomb in the mosque.
This was even as there was pandemonium in the Zone 5 area of Abuja, yesterday evening, following a bomb scare, with some offices in the ever-busy environment quickly evacuating as business men and women also hurriedly closed shops and residents scampered for safety.
In Minna, Niger State capital and environs, business activities were also temporarily disrupted yesterday afternoon as rumour of attacks by members of an Islamic sect, Boko-Haram filtered into town. The rumour which started barely an hour to the Friday Juma’at Mosque climaxed as some shop owners closed shops for the day’s business while many traders at the Kure ultra modern market and other markets around the metropolis also hurriedly followed suit.
However, six other people were injured in Plateau State when the assailants suspected to be Fulani herdsmen and said to have numbered over 30 stormed the village at about 3.30am wielding guns and machetes.
An eyewitness said the attackers killed six members of the Dakibang family in their sleep and injured two other members of the family who were hit with machetes as they tried to escape before moving to other houses in the village where they injured four other people.
They reportedly shot sporadically while some of them attacked those trying to escape with dangerous weapons and operated for about two hours before escaping through a bush path.
Security men to whom distress calls were made allegedly arrived at the village an hour after the attackers had gone.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. John Clark Dabwang who visited the affected village to commiserate with them described the attack as barbaric and wicked.
He wondered why people would hack down fellow human beings in cold blood and appealed for calm among the people urging them not to carry out reprisals.
Spokesman for the Plateau State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent Emmanuel Abuh confirmed the attack and the six killed adding that investigations were on to track down the perpetrators.In Kano State, the Waje Friday Mosque lies within the expanse of land that separate the predominantly Christian quarters and the indigenous Hausa.
Bomb found in Kano mosque
A statement by JTF spokesman made available to Saturday Vanguard in Kano, Lt Ikediche Iweha stated:
“The attention of the general public is hereby drawn to the latest desperate and despicable tactics employed by members of the terrorist sect aimed at causing public disorder and riots in the name of religion. This afternoon, June 22, 2012, at about 2pm, the attention of the JTF was called by a careful Nigerian to a suspicious package at a mosque in Fagge area just before the Friday prayers. Upon examination, the package turned out to be an IED planted by terrorists to cause death and grievous harm to worshippers at the Jum’mat prayers.
“This latest attempt is particularly disturbing in view of the wider implication it would have had on the fragile peace in Kano and the disruption of economic activities it would have brought with it. It is also equally disturbing in view of the recent events in parts of Kaduna State to which Kano boarders.”
Similarly, the Police Public Relation Officer in the state, DSP Rilwanu Tanimu confirmed the arrest of the four suspects stressing that they were apprehended after they abandoned the IED stocked in a polythene bag.
Taminu further explained that a comprehensive investigation has begun on the matter, adding that the four suspects were in their custody.
Bomb scare in Abuja
As usual with such situations, there were several versions to the cause of the scare with some people saying that a bag dropped from a moving vehicle and those by the road side took to their heels.
Another version had it that a bag was dropped near an eatery in the area where several government offices, and private businesses as well as, the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, had their headquarters.
Some eyewitnesses said they saw a suspicious bag between Top View Hotel and the headquarters of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps office in the area and concluded that it could be an explosive.
The headquarters of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, is located on the other side of the road leading to Alvan Ikoku Way. The incident which occurred between about 3pm and 5 pm caused traffic gridlock in the area as one lane had to be closed to traffic.
However, when Anti-Bomb Policemen visited the place, it was confirmed that there no explosive in the said bag.
Locally manufactured arms
The Kogi State police Commissioner, Muhammed Katsina who briefed newsmen over the incident said three persons, (names withheld), were arrested at the factory where locally made guns were being manufactured.
Katsina said, the trio who had already confessed to have manufactured guns of different categories for men of the underworld were arrested by detectives who swooped on them at their workshop following a tip off.
According to Katsina, 10 locally made single- barreled guns, one locally made double barreled gun, two manufacturing machines and a gas cylinder were recovered at the ‘’arms workshop.’’
He further said the state command also arrested two persons, aged 25 and 26 in connection with the kidnapping of a teenage girl, Racheal Bulus from Jos.
The girl who was a Face book friend of Haruna travelled to see him only for the two to detain her and call her father asking for N200,000 ransom. The duo according to the police boss were arrested while trying to withdraw the money from their bank account in Ogane Iyale, Dekina Local Government of the state
Traders scamper in Minna over rumour of attack
As a result of the rumour of attack, the Friday prayer Mosques which were usually filled to capacity with adherents of the Islamic faith was poorly attended as many moslems chose to stay indoors as part of the rumour indicated that the central mosque was the target of the sect.
Proprietors of private schools, especially those owned by Christians, who were in session,out of fear called or sent text messages to parents/guardians to come for their wards as their fears were further heightened by the presence of soldiers and anti-riot policemen who were patrolling the town.The situation was chaotic as parents who had their wards in schools drove recklessly to pick their children, in the process, causing traffic gridlock along major roads in the city, especially at the Central Mosque-Sabon-Gari round- about linking the Obasanjo shopping complex.
Taxis and commercial motorcycle drivers popularly called ‘Okada’ were not left out in the confusion that ensued. While many simply stopped business to watch the unfolding events, others made brisk business charging more than the normal cost for a drop.
Meanwhile, the police in Niger state have advised residents against spreading rumour over possible attacks and asked them to go about their normal businesses.
A statement signed by the Police Public Relation Officer, PPRO,, Pius Edobor, solicited the support and cooperation of Nigerlites in tackling security challenges by providing the police with useful information to check criminals and people from cause breach of the peace.
Edobor described the rumoured attack as one of the gimmicks by mischief makers and assured residents of the state of their safety at all times.