Saturday 10 November 2012

BOKO HARAM: 89 high-profile suspects detained in Abuja •Confusion over alleged escape of kingpin on Sallah day •IG probes news of escape- Nigeria Tribune

AT the detention centre located in the premises of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the Nigeria Police at Area 10, Garki, Abuja, are 89 high-profile suspects made up of key Boko Haram kingpins and others. It was here that a suspect was alleged to have escaped a few days ago.

A security source told Saturday Tribune on Friday that among the 89 prime suspects were two females but could not confirm their link with the sect, just as he hinted at inter-agency rivalry between the police and another security agency as the source of current controversies over the reported escape of a key Boko Haram suspect from police custody.

While the police insisted on Friday that no suspect named Sani Mohammed escaped from its custody, sources in another security agency maintained that a suspect by that name indeed escaped during last Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

Sources at the other security agency in Abuja confirmed to Saturday Tribune that the high-profile suspect, who had been in the custody of the police since January, actually escaped during the last Eid-el-Kabir celebrations when he was escorted out to say his prayers.

Saturday Tribune recall that Muhammed was arrested by the police in January inside the Borno State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja, along with another leader of the sect, Kabiru Sokoto and one Airforce officer, and kept in police custody until Kabiru Sokoto escaped.

Sokoto, who escaped from a team of police dectetives led by the  now dismissed Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu, during a purported enquiry mission to Abaji, a suburb of Abuja, was rearrested by operatives of the Department of the State Security Service.

It was gathered that while  Sokoto has since his rearrest been in the custody of the SSS, both Muhammed and the Airforce officer remained in Police custody until Muhammed disappeared into thin air during the last Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, having franternised with the policemen around him, who reportedly allowed him access to phones, choice meals and all kinds of visitors.

However, the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, has repeatedly insisted that no suspect escaped from the police custody and that the police had no suspect bearing Sani Mohammed or Mohammed Sani in their custody based on available records with the police authorities.

Saturday Tribune, however,  garthered from other security agencies that it was actually the same Sani Mohammed  who was arrested over Boko Haram activities along with Kabiru Sokoto and the airforce officer in Asokoro in January that escaped from police custody.

The Police High Command was said to have been rattled when the information of Muhammed’s escape started filtering out and had tried hard to manage the information, hoping that the fleeing man would soon be apprehended. But unfortunately, the Presidency got wind of the escape through another security agency during the week.

According to the source, the Presidency was furious and alarmed over the development because of its security implications and subsequently gave the Inspector-General of Police,   M D Abubakar,  an order to produce the fleeing suspect as well as those responsible for his escape in a matter of days or face the music.

A senor security officer who confirmed the escape of the suspect told Saturday Tribune in confidence that Muhammed actually escaped in a “mysterious manner which can only  be explained  by those involved alone.”

“Sani of the Boko Haram sect actually escaped from police custody. It is shameful. If anybody is saying it is not him, let him or her produce the Sani Mohammed that was arrested by our people in January this year along with Kabiru Sokoto and one airforce officer in Asokoro, and let the SSS bring out Kabiru Sokoto who was rearrested by the service after he escaped. This will solve the whole drama,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Inspector-GeneraI of Police has ordered an investigation into the rumour of alleged escape of the Boko- Haram kingpin.

Informed police sources told Saturday Tribune that the Police High Command is worried by attempts from some quarters to discredit the Force by spreading false information.

According to the source, the purpose of the investigation is to unravel the motive behind what it described as “the false information that has created panic in the country.”

Mba has, however, urged members of the public and the international community to disregard the escape story, which he described as untrue.

He noted that the task of defending the nation’s democracy is a collective one, and urged the people to “desist from using the media to spread false information capable of creating panic.”

On the perceived delay in the prosecution of the terror suspects, Mba explained that investigation and prosecution of this type of crime take time.

 “We will get to the root and motive of this unguarded false information. All terror-related suspects are intact in our custody,” he insisted.

Source: Nigerian Tribune


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