Thursday, 15 March 2012

Comprehensive Report Of The Alleged Kidnappers Of Foreign Hostages In Nigeria

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The State Security Service, on Wednesday, paraded eight Boko Haram members involved in the killing of the two abducted expatriate staff of Stabilini Visioni Construction firm Christopher Mcmanus, a Briton; and Franco Lamolinara, an Italian. The foreigners were killed in Sokoto during a failed rescue operation carried out by British commandos, SSS personnel and soldiers.

During the parade, the SSS gave details of the failed operation, revealing that the decision to conduct it was taken after the arrest of the leader of the kidnap plot, Abu Mohammed. Mohammed and five other members of the sect were arrested during a raid on their hideout at Layin Hanwa, Zaria, Kaduna State, on March 7, 2012. The suspects were said to have been arrested while holding a Shura Council meeting of the sect. The Shura Council is Boko Haram’s highest decision-making body.
The SSS said a soldier was killed and his throat slashed, while one SSS operative was seriously injured by Boko Haram members during the raid.
The Assistant Director, Media and Public Relations, Doyin Adetuberu, who addressed newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, announced that Mohammed died two days later from the bullet wounds he sustained during the raid.
The service paraded three youths aged between 19 and 20 years who were found to have conducted surveillance on the victims before their abduction in May, 2011 at their residence in Kebbi State.
The suspects, Bashir Ibrahim (aka Adda’u), Ibrahim Habibu, and Gambo Maiborodi were described as the collaborators that made the abduction of the foreigners possible.
The SSS also paraded five other suspects, Abu Mohammed; Mohammed Adam (aka Dan Hajiya); Abubakar Habibu; Shitu Salihu; Abubakar Umar and Ahmed Samaila, who were involved in the crime.

However, the SSS did not allow journalists to ask the suspects questions, arguing that doing so could “jeopardise ongoing investigations”.
Adetuberu said, “Preliminary interrogation of the suspects revealed that the guards protecting the hostages had been directed to kill them in the event of any envisaged threat. The arrested suspects therefore advised that a rescue operation be immediately initiated more so as one of them had escaped during the Zaria raid.
“Consequently, a joint security operation was launched; one of the arrested suspects, Mohammed Adam, who killed the soldier during the Zaria raid, led the security team from Zaria about 11 pm on March 7 to Sokoto and arrived at their destination at about 04.30 hours on March 8. Prior to their arrival, security operatives had mounted a street cordon and search operation along all routes around Mabera Estate, Sokoto, to prevent any attempt by the guards to smuggle out the hostages.”
According to the Assistant director, the guards murdered the hostages before the arrival of security forces, apparently acting on the directive of the sect member that escaped from Zaria.
Adetuberu explained that there was a prolonged exchange of gunfire during which three of the guards were killed while the wife of one of them sustained bullet wounds and was rushed to the hospital.
“No lives were lost on the part of security forces though some service personnel sustained gunshot injuries,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Senate has ordered an investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of Mcmanus and Lamolinara. The Senate, at its session on Wednesday, mandated its committees on National Security and Intelligence, Defence and Army and Foreign Affairs, to carry out the investigation.
The decision was reached after a debate on a motion brought by Senator Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, on the failed rescue.
He also said that the judiciary should be an important part of the struggle at wiping out terrorism, noting that the committees would have to look into the rescue operation with a view to determing what went wrong.
Although some senators had suggested that the operation was not a failure since the perpetrators were killed and others arrested, Mark insisted that since the goal of the operation was to rescue the hostages, not achieving the goal was a failure.
Bagudu said the Senate was “aware of the pains, anguish and sorrow endured by the gentlemen, families and all those involved in the tragic rescue effort and observes the unprecedented diplomatic cooperation provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria to both Britain and Italy, a measure that underlies Nigeria’s firm commitment against criminality and terrorism.”
Bagudu further noted that the Federal Government, the governments of Sokoto and Kebbi states, religious leaders and traditional rulers had called for the full weight of the law to be visited on the perpetrators of the act.
Rising in support of the bill, Senator Isa Galaudu noted that the operation might have been conducted in a manner that was below expectation and not properly planned, resulting in the death of the hostages.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, noted that Nigerian security forces could have done better if they had been allowed to handle the operation without the involvement of an outside entity.
According to him, the issue of internationalising a local problem was unnecessary, and called for a strict measure at dealing with immigration issues at the borders.
But Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, said, “It is well know that terrorism is a transborder and transnational issue. It is no longer a local matter. We should be able to look beyond our borders in tackling the issues.”
Senator Pius Ewerhido, in his contribution, said the development was a national embarrassment, noting that security agencies should take advantage of the SIM card registration to reduce the activities of kidnappers in the country.
A minute’s silence was observed by senators for the departed, even as it was resolved that a condolence message would be sent to the governments of Britain and Italy as well as the families of the deceased. Punch Nigeria

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