opinionBy Albert Akpor
DETERMINED to consolidate and perpetrate their reigns of terror in the northern states of the country against all known security apparatus put in place by the federal government, members of the Islamic fundamentalist sect otherwise known as Boko Haram, now move their arms and ammunition from one state to another in petrol tankers.
Crime Guard authoritatively scooped that the group also uses designated mosques as their armory.
According to sources, most of the sect's weapons entered the country through the Apapa Wharf and the northern borders of Chad, Mali and Niger Republic and are evacuated into tankers with the alleged assistance of some members of the authorized security agents at these borders suspected to be members of the group.
Camels to the rescue
The tankers would normally sail through all checkpoints until they get to their destination where the contents are again evacuated into designated mosques. Camels are said to be equally used in this movement of arms and ammunition.
Sources said a curious policeman attached to Wuronu Division in Borno state stopped some of these beasts of burden normally loaded with grains coming into the country through these northern borders only to discover l54 ammunition and two AK 47 Assault riffles carefully hidden in babaringa of two members of the sect escorting the camels. Both the animals and the sect members were arrested and have been transferred to the Force headquarters, Abuja for further investigation.
It was alleged that a prominent northerner and one time military head of state (names withheld) was behind the recent tactics. The source further stated the former military leader had at a time called and notified a senior Custom's Officer at the Apapa wharf when one of the containers of weapons of destruction arrived to ensure that it was not inspected.
He was alleged to have equally mandated the customs officer whom he facilitated his enlistment into the organization to ensure that he supervised the trans load of the weapons from the container to the tankers. The whole exercise was said to have taken place at the dead of the night. Sources hinted further that the recent tricks was aimed at outwitting eagle-eyed security personnel including the Joint Task Force JTF at the various checkpoints in the troubled states.
Fake NNPC inscription
Investigation further revealed that most of the tankers used had the inscription of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC. This was formulated to deceive security operatives and erase any form of suspicion.
It was learned that though the sect was yet to be beaten to their new tricks, security personnel, especially men of the JTF, now stop petrol tankers whether private or government owned for detailed search while their drivers are mandated to spill little content of the tanker to authenticate if it was actually conveying fuel. In addition, security agents also detail some of their men to escort the tanker (s) to the filling station and monitor the discharge of the content.
Poisoned pure water
Impeccable sources also informed that apart from conveying arms and ammunition in tankers, the sect has also devised another deadly means of killing members of the JTF via poisoned sachet water popularly called pure water.
According to sources, members of the sect disguise as good citizens and go around with bags of poisoned sachet water to give to JTF operatives as gift, adding that a sizeable number of the JTF personnel may have lost their lives through such murderous act.
A senior police officer serving in one of the northern states who spoke on condition of anonymity said one of such tankers carrying arms and ammunition was spotted recently inside the premises of a mosque where electric welders were busy cutting open the tankers to evacuate the arms and ammunition into a particular chamber of the mosque. He said, "That is the recent tactics that has been uncovered. But you see, there is little or nothing we can do.
They now move arms and ammunition in petrol tankers and hide them in special mosques where only members of the sect worship. Recently, we discovered that these people were arming themselves from the mosque and we quickly mobilized and laid ambush for them. Most of them lost their lives during the encounter while others shot their ways to escape.
However, we are handicapped because even though we know these mosques, we dare not enter into them to avoid religious war in the country. Some of them who were seriously injured during the bloody encounter but spoke before they died mentioned a one time military head of state as their sponsor and that they get their arms from Apapa wharf in Lagos and through the three borders in Borno state.
Again, you know soldiers do not take bribe unlike the police, but they easily collect gift. Members of the sect disguise as good citizens, drive around town with poisoned pure water as gift to the soldiers of the JTF. This murderous act is not reported because I can tell you authoritatively that many soldiers have lost their lives through this means," he stated.