….Arrests Islamic State of West Africa, B/Haram leaders
By Soni Daniel, Abuja
The Department of State Services, DSS, has foiled a major plot by the Islamic State of West Africa, ISWA, to bomb the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and six states in the northern part of Nigeria, just as it planned to cause mass murder and destruction of property. The agency said in a mail to Sunday Vanguard that it prevented the mayhem by promptly arresting the key masterminds of the plot, which was to be unleashed on Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States during the last Eid-Kabir Sallah festivities, between the 1-4 of September 2017.
According to the mail signed by Tony Opuiyo, the ISWA terrorists were to conduct gun attacks and suicide bombings on selected targets in the Federal Capital Territory and six states.
The DSS named the mastermind of the failed operation as Husseini Mai-Tangaran, described as a well known senior ISWA commander, who has been on its radar and that of the Nigeria Army since 2012, when he spearheaded the armed attacks on the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone I, on 20th January, 2012, as well as other public places in Kano. The security agency also identified Mai-Tangaran as the terrorist responsible for the deadly explosive attacks against worshippers at the Kano Central Mosque as well as an attack on a military formation in Yobe State in 2015, which claimed hundreds of lives.
The service pointed out that under the banner of ISWA which he belongs, Mai-Tangaran, an IED expert had been prepping and priming others for the perpetration of suicide bombing attacks carried out by the group in the past within the North-East region.
Luck, however, eluded the suspect, when he was arrested in Kano, on 31st August, 2017, and further exploitation, led to the arrest of one Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed by the DSS on 2nd September, 2017, at Kantin Kwari Market in Fagge LGA, Kano.
The agency said Mohammed was a fighter of the sect who left the conclave of the group in the Sambisa forest, to join ranks with ISWA towards carrying out the attacks being planned by the group.
The DSS said its operatives also arrested another accomplice in the plot, one Muhammad ALI, on 3rd September 2017, at Sheka area in Kumbotso LGA of the State.
Prior to his arrest, Ali was the financial courier of the group in Kano. He was identified as one of the conduits through which funds and other material logistics were channeled to the group from foreign extremist elements/sponsors.
“Like Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed, Ali was involved in the plot to perpetrate the planned attacks in Kano and other States in the North during the just concluded Eid-Kabir celebration,” the agency said.
In a related tactical operation on 3rd September, 2017, the Service said it apprehended the duo of one Yahaya Mohammed Abatcha and Yusuf Mohammed, along Top Medical Road, close to Mobile Quarters in Tunga area of Minna city, Niger State.
According to the service, Abatcha and Mohammed are both fighters of the Habib Al-BARNAWI-led ISWA.
“The duo are the leading elements of a cell of the extremist group and have been hibernating and furthering the doctrines of the group in the city.
“They were also to be responsible for operations in FCT Abuja, Kaduna and Niger States.”
Beyond that, the DSS announced that in Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Gombe axis, the Service in concert with sister security agencies, conducted a counter-terrorism operation on 29th August, 2017, and it led to the apprehension of one Abdulkarim Mohammed aka Baba Maigiwa, at Ajilani area of Jere LGA in Borno State.
Baba Maigiwa was apprehended based on intelligence which indicates his status as a spy/double agent to the Boko Haram group in the North-East region.
The suspect has been spying on targets in Maiduguri, particularly troops’ deployments/positioning and subsequently passing same to elements of the group in Sambisa forest, while also pretending to be working for the security forces. In the same vein, the body arrested a top member of the Benue-based criminal gang led by Gana Akwaza.
The name of the top gang leader was given as Moses Peverga, who is said to be based in Lokoja and a major source of arms supply to the Gana group and other criminal groups to perpetrate the violence in Benue and other adjoining States of Kogi and Nassarawa.