This Day (Lagos)

6 August 2012

Nigeria: Boko Haram Kills Ex-Commissioner, Immigration Officer in Maiduguri

Gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram Sunday shot dead the former Borno State Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Kadiri Kaza'a; and a senior officer with the Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS), Mr. Mohammed Lawan, at their residences.

Kaza'a and Lawan's deaths also came on the heels of another suicide attack in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, where the Joint Task Force (JTF) military post was attacked, leaving six soldiers and two civilians dead. This is coming barely 48 hours after a suicide bomber almost killed the Emir of Fika, at a central mosque in Potiskum, Yobe State.

However, it was gathered that Kaza'a and Lawan were killed by the Boko Haram members in the presence of their wives and children at Bayan Railway Quarters and Gwange wards of the Maiduguri metropolis respectively.

An eyewitness account said Kaza'a's killing occurred in the early hours of Sunday, while that of Lawan occurred at about 8 a.m. Sunday.

It was also learnt that men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) later rushed to the scene of the incident, to prevent further attacks and killings by the gunmen.

Confirming the killings in Maiduguri, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Gidieon Jibrin, said the former commissioner and the immigration officer, who was attached to the Passport Office at the Customs Area; were killed at their respective residences by the gunmen, believed to be members of Boko Haram.

He explained that when the suspects allegedly got to their victims residences in Bayan Quarters and Gwange wards of the metropolis, they asked for Kaza'a and Lawan's whereabouts.

Disguising as errand boys, Jibrin explained that the suspects, allegedly shot them (Kaza'a and Jibrin) dead at close range in the chests and heads, before their family members.

When asked whether any arrest had been made, Jibrin told journalists that no arrests had been made, but that investigations have commenced.

The PPRO noted that information provided by some residents could be of assistance in getting the suspected assassins nabbed, lamenting that the activities of assassins have risen, especially with the renewed onslaught on policemen, security agents and traditional rulers in the state.

It was also learnt that the two affected wards had since been cordoned off by JTF and the police, while the stop and search exercise had been intensified.

Meanwhile, the killing of the six soldiers and two civilians was said to have occurred at about 12:30p.m, when the suicide bomber, who rode in a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), attacked the JTF military post in Shagari Quarters of Damaturu.

The suicide car-bomber in the SUV, according to an eyewitness, Isa Ibrahim, drove into the military post in the residential quarters, and successful detonated the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) before he could be stopped by soldiers, and killed six men of the JTF and two passersby.

According to the eyewitness: "The suicide bomber took the soldiers by surprise that is why the lone suspected Boko Haram bomber, was able to blow up one of the military checkpoints at the Shagari Quarters, killing eight people."

He said the sound of the blast was devastating, shaking the entire house in the residential quarters and sending fears and apprehension among the residents."

Speaking on the incident Sunday in Damaturu, the Yobe State Police Commissioner, Patrick Egbuniwe, said the blast occurred at the Shagari Quarters military check point at about 12.30p.m, killing six soldiers and two civilians caught up in the blast, while passing by the "stop and search" of the JTF.

"The incident occurred when one Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) was stopped at the military post at a residential quarters, but the driver of the vehicle detonated the bombs installed in the vehicle and blew up six soldiers and two civilians that were about passing the check point this afternoon (yesterday)," he said.

He said the soldiers attempted to stop the suspected suicide car-bomber; he, however, detonated the bomb and shattered the SUV strapped explosives and died in the process.

The Police boss said the other civilian died in the hospital, when the soldiers and civilians were rushed to the Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital, Damaturu.

Egbuniwe said: "The reports we are just receiving at the scene of the blast indicated that six soldiers were killed along with two civilians. I am certain that many were killed in today's blast," adding that the police was still collating more information as well as the number of casualties from both the police and JTF.

He said as soon as casualties were collated, the police will brief journalists on its investigations, hinting also that the residential quarters had been cordoned off by JTF to prevent further attacks and killings in the metropolis.

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