The Department of State Services has arrested a suspected founding member of the Boko Haram, Mohammed Usman, in Lokoja, Kogi State.
According to the DSS, Mr Usman, widely known as Khalid Al-Barnawi, alias Kafuri, Naziru, Alhaji Yahaya, Mallam Dauda, Alhaji Tanimu, apprehended by this Service on April 1 in, while hiding under a false cover.
The Service said Mr Usman, whom it prefers to refer to as Al-Barnawi, was a founding member of the Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid Da’wah Wa’l-Jihad (Boko Haram) and later the Amir of the break-away faction, Jama’at Ansarul Muslimim Fi Biladi Sudan (JAMBS).
A statement by the spokesman for the DSS, Tony Opuiyo, said “Khalid Al-Barnawi is a trained terrorist commander, who has been coordinating terrorist activities in Nigeria, while talent-spotting and recruiting vulnerable young and able Nigerians for terrorist training by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North African States and the Middle-East”.
The service said he was involved in many terrorist attacks in States of the Federation, including Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Sokoto and FCT-Abuja that resulted in the killing and maiming of innocent citizens of Nigeria.
“Al-Barnawi is also responsible for the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, on 26th August, 2011; the kidnapping of two European civil engineers in Kebbi State in May, 2011, and their subsequent murder in Sokoto State; the kidnap of a German engineer, Edgar Raupach in January, 2012, the kidnap and murder of seven expatriate staff of Setraco Construction Company at Jama’are, in Bauchi State in February, 2013, the attack of Nigerian troops at Okene in Kogi State, while on transit to Abuja for an official assignment,” the DSS claimed in the statement.
It said the suspect would be charged after investigation, describing the arrest as a major milestone in the counter-terrorism fight of this Service.
The DSS reassured Nigerians that the Service in collaboration with other sister security agencies, would bring perpetrators of crime and their sponsors to justice.
In another development, the Service said it uncovered the heinous role played by suspected members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), in the abduction of five Hausa-Fulani residents, namely Mohammed Gainako, Ibrahim Mohammed, Idris Yakubu, and Isa Mohammed Rago at Isuikwuato Local Government Area in Abia State.
According to the DSS, the abducted men were later discovered at the Umuanyi forest, Abia State, where they were suspected to have been killed by their abductors and buried in shallow graves, amidst 50 other shallow graves of unidentified persons.
It said arrest and investigation conducted so far, revealed that some suspected members of IPOB, carried out the action.
It claimed that IPOB was steadily embarking on gruesome actions in a bid to ignite ethnic terrorism and mistrust amongst non-indigenes in the South-East region and other parts of Nigeria.
It warned that it would act decisively within its statutory mandate to ensure that the sponsors and perpetrators of the action were apprehended and prosecuted.