LAGOS—There were indications, yesterday, that the Boko Haram sect might have infiltrated Lagos State, following raid of a building in Ijora Badia area of Lagos, suspected to have been used as a hideout by the suspected terrorists.
This came as the Islamist group holding the French family of seven in Nigeria has warned against any attempt to use force to free their hostages who were kidnapped in northern Cameroon last month.
Arrested in the Lagos building were two persons; a Chadian simply identified as Aminu and another man from the northern part of the country whose identity could not be ascertained.
Recovered at the end of the raid carried out by a combined team of Operation Messa, OP MESSA and personnel of the Department of State Security, DSS were AK 47 riffles and some explosives said to have been hidden inside the ceiling.
Vanguard gathered that the operatives stormed the building following information on a terror network coordinated by Iranians in Lagos.
Suspects whisked to Abuja
The suspects were said to have been immediately whisked into the operatives’ van which headed straight to the airport, enroute Abuja.
Investigation revealed that the suspects moved into the building located on 24 Oyegbemi Street last month. Their movement reportedly aroused suspicion from residents of the area who alerted security operatives.
Residents of the area told Vanguard that the operatives stormed the building, a bungalow at about 6am and arrested the Chadian, Aminu.
They reportedly came again at noon. “This time, they went round the entire vicinity and arrested some other persons”, a resident said.
The suspects as gathered, occupied three rooms in the building. “But we became suspicious following unusual movements in and around the building, with most of the visitors carrying bags. As you can see, the building is located close to this drainage and with the location of the place, nobody was sure of what they were into, until today (yesterday)”, another resident said.
Five major oil companies’ tank farms are located around the area. The oil companies are; AGIP, AP, Conoil, Oando and NICO.
Reports also had it that eight other persons were arrested, among whom were two soldiers and six civilians.
Although some of those arrested reportedly tried to explain that they knew nothing about the recovered explosives, the officials were said to have replied that their claim would be determined at the end of investigation.
Contacted, spokesman for 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, confirmed the raid but did not state whether the suspects were members of the Boko Haram sect.
He explained that similar raids were also carried out in other volatile areas of the state, adding that yesterday’s raid was carried out following a tip-off.
He said: “The OP Mesa as you know, is a joint security body which carried out its routine raids yesterday and made some arrests.
“The raids were simply part of those carried out everyday based on information at our disposal. The raids give the public confidence that security bodies are working.
“It is the way the OP Mesa was designed and once our sources give us tips, we swing into action”, he said, advising Lagosians to go about their legal businesses without fear.
He could also not confirm whether explosives were recovered during the raid.
Lagos State Director, DSS, Achu Olayi, confirmed the raid but added that it was too soon to say if the suspects were Boko Haram members or not. He could also not disclose the type of ammunition recovered during the raid.
Spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, Ngozi Braide when contacted, said she was not aware of any raid carried out by policemen from either of the divisions yesterday.
Also, the monarch of the area, Oba Fatai Ojora, who reacted to the incident said he had begun investigation to ascertain the identity of the owner of the house.
When news of the arrest filtered round, residents panicked, with some of them making effort to flee the environment, for fear of possible explosion.
Boko Haram warns against rescue of French hostages
Meanwhile, the Islamist group holding the French family of seven in Nigeria has warned against any attempt to use force to free their hostages.
Mr. Tanguy Moulin-Fournier was kidnapped along with his wife, four children aged between five and 12, and brother on February 19, while vacationing in northern Cameroon.
In the video, released from an undisclosed location in Nigeria, the spokesman of Boko Haram, Imam Abu Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abubakar Ash Shekawi, also known as Abubakar Shekau, warned against any attempt to use force to free their captives.
The video recording distributed to the media, yesterday, showed Moulin-Fournier making the previous demands by Boko Haram for the release of their members held as prisoners in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Specifically, the group demanded the release of wives and children of members supposedly arrested in Nigeria as well as members of the group they claimed to have been detained in Cameroon.
No fewer than seven construction workers seized in BauchiState were reported by one of the militant groups to have been killed earlier this month when the group suspected that there was attempt by the government to rescue them.