JTF Arrest Top Boko Haram Commander, A Member Of Shura Council
Barley 24 hours after a suspected Boko Haram kingpin was arrested in Abuja at the home of a former lawmaker, the Joint Task Force, JTF, ‘Operation Restore Order’ has again arrested a high profile commander of the sect, Mohammed Zangina.
Zangina, who has a N25m bounty on his head and is a member of the sect’s Shura Committee, was arrested at about 12:30p.m. yesterday at the Government Reserved Area, GRA, Maiduguri.
JTF spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement issued yesterday, said the arrested suspect was in the city to coordinate several planned attacks against civilians and security personnel scheduled to be carried out as from the weekend.
Our correspondent observed that all major roads leading to churches and other strategic locations were condoned off for several hours by JTF operatives, which resulted in gridlock for hours during and after Sunday services.
Zangina a.k.a Mallam Abdullahi or Alhaji Musa, according to Sagir is the Boko Haram leader in charge of the North Central Nigeria and coordinator of most of the suicide attacks and bombings in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Potiskum.
Sagir insisted that Zangina is a key member of the Shura Committee of the terrorist group, who is among those declared wanted and with a bounty of N25m placed on him by the JTF on November 23, 2012.
Sagir added that he survived or escaped during several raids on his hideouts in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Jos, Potiskum and Damaturu, which have remained the centres of attacks and killings.
Meanwhile, security operatives have begun massive raids of suspected criminal hideouts and regular surveillance of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to prevent terror attacks, based on intelligence reports.
Teams of security operatives have already cordoned off the Three Arms Zone including roads leading to the Eagles’ Square.
President Goodluck Jonathan is expected at the Square tomorrow for the celebration of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
Residents around the Wuse Market axis and the federal secretariat road had to trek long distances before they could get vehicles to convey them to their various destinations.
A police source said that for the next two weeks the city is likely to witness more raids and patrols, urging residents to go about their normal businesses.
The source, however, insisted that it has become “very necessary to rid the city of certain elements that have ulterior motives for coming to Abuja.”
For several hours yesterday, a military helicopter was seen on an aerial surveillance of the Three Arms Zone and parts of the Central Business District, a development which forced some residents to head for home immediately after church services.
At the ever-busy Wuse Market axis, a full complement of security operatives were seen chasing away roadside hawkers and taxi drivers who used to pick up commuters in the area. Only on Saturday night, there were reports of the seizure of a bus alleged to contain incendiary materials. The Police, however, said the bus which was alleged to have been impounded around the Wuse market junction was sanctioned for illegal parking.
The developments came yesterday as the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, also commenced a massive sanitisation of the Wuse Market and its adjoining roads. The exercise which was coordinated by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, AEPB, would also be extended to cover other areas in the city such as Area One axis in Garki.
National Mirror gathered that no fewer than 1,000 hawkers, street traders and other unlawful operators were evicted from the area on the first day of the exercise which kicked off at about 4a.m. on Saturday.
The sanitisation exercise resulted in partial blockade of all the entry roads to the market. Director of AEPB, Mr. Isa Shuaibu, said that through the exercise over 1,000 hawkers, street traders and illegal elements operating in Wuse market, Berger Junction, Zone 2 junction and other adjoining streets to the market were arrested.
He assured that the operation would be sustained and warned hawkers, street traders and other illegal operators to steer clear the market and its precincts or face arrest and prosecution.
Shuaibu also warned banks and other businesses bordering the market against condoning hawkers in front or around their offices stressing that AEPB would be left with no option than to seal off the office of any company found guilty of such illegal acts.