The Joint Task Force in Kano State yesterday narrated how they killed two leaders of the Boko Haram sect, Abu Qaqa and Isah Abuja, during a shootout with members of the sect in the Hotoro area of Kano city.
Spokesman of the JTF in Kano Lt Col. Ikediche Iweha said the two kingpins were taking a woman, who later identified herself as the wife of Isah Abuja, to a medical centre in Kano when they were confronted by the JTF operatives.
According to Iweha, when the duo of Qaqa and Abuja approached a checkpoint manned by the JTF operatives, they opened fire on the officers, fearing that they would be identified and arrested.
In the course of the shootout that ensued, he said, the two kingpins were killed while the lady in the vehicle was arrested.
Isah Abuja was described as the spiritual head who took over from the slain Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf. Qaqa was the spokesman of the sect who handled all communication with the media.
LEADERSHIP learnt, however, that the Boko Haram chieftains were killed in a pre-dawn attack launched by the military operatives in Kano.
Two other high-profile suspected commandants of the group were also arrested by the task force during the attack.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the JTF launched the attack in the area following a tip-off from some concerned members of the public who feared that the top three chieftains were planning to cause mayhem in the state capital.
"They came all the way from Maiduguri to plan a devastating attack on the state capital but were routed by the JTF team in an early morning attack," a source confided in LEADERSHIP.
According to a report by the BBC Hausa Service monitored in Abuja, a member of the group was killed in the attack and the spokesperson for the JTF confirmed that one of those arrested died in the hospital. The JTF, said the BBC, was conducting an investigation to identify the deceased.
But a source whose name was not mentioned said the deceased person was Abu Qaqa, the spokesperson of the Boko Haram sect.
The Jama'atuAhlusSunna Lid da'awatiwal Jihad (Boko Haram) is yet to react to the attack.
The Voice of America (VOA) reported that the JTF intercepted a vehicle in which three Boko Haram members were travelling following a tip-off.
Also, a top security source in Kano informed an online news medium that a group claiming to be an affiliate of Boko Haram has threatened to bomb Cool FM 96.9, a radio station based in Kano. The sect, which identified itself as Jama'atul Qatlul Kafir fi Sabilillahi, reportedly accused the radio station of being pro-Christian and anti-Islam.
SaharaReporters reports that the sect dispatched a letter to the broadcast station accusing it of blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.
It quotes its source, an official of the State Security Service (SSS), as saying that his agency and others had started investigating the authenticity of the sect as well as the background of its spokesman Jaid Qariq Usman. Mr. Usman signed the letter that was sent to the station.
"We are working to establish if the sect truly exists so as to avoid a repeat of the January 2012 attacks in which hundreds of people were killed in Kano," said the source, adding that the agencies were working hard and had taken the threat letter seriously. "I cannot say much more in order not to jeopardise our investigations."
An official of the radio station made the text of the letter available to SaharaReporters. The highly ungrammatical letter is reproduced below, unedited:
As we embark on fresh attacks to commemorate the insult done to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SWT) .This is hereby warning you/alerting your station that you might be affected due to some attitudes towards Islam and our people. Reports came to us that your stations are Christian inclined and we made our investigations to ascertaining that.
There are some people among you that fall in our target list as we noted their CAN membership and they shall expect our wrath in a short-while, but for now.
We warn you. We also forewarn our Muslim brothers in the station not to be involved in any act of offence to Islam and that they should limit their movements into the stations to avoid being affected.
We once again commend the jihad of our brothers in Libya that killed an American envoy and some non Muslims; It is indeed an act worthy of commendation and adoption.