9 November 2012

Nigeria: Boko Haram Commander Escapes From Police Custody

Photo: Leadership
Suspected Boko Haram sect members.

A suspected senior Boko Haram commander, Sani Mohammed, was Thursday alleged to have escaped from police custody in Abuja.

The suspect, who was arrested along side another Boko Haram operative, Kabir Sokoto, in January, was said to have escaped from the cell where he was kept with other terror suspects.

Though the police in a statement claimed that no terror suspect escaped, security sources confirmed that Mohammed disappeared from custody. The details of his escape was however sketchy as at press time.

A similar incident happened early this year when Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing of Saint Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, escaped from police custody at Abaji, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory.

Sokoto, who was arrested alongside a serving military officer, was said to have been tracked to Abuja by security agents after several weeks of investigation.

The Force Headquarters suspended the commissioner in charge of the investigation, Zakari Biu, for negligence, and he was later dismissed from the force by the Police Service Commission.

The incident also led to the removal of the then Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Ringim.

The five policemen that were with Sokoto at the time of his escape were also sanctioned. Sokoto was later re-arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) at Mutum Biu in Taraba State in February.

The police in a statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said no terror suspect escaped from its custody, adding that a check on its records showed no such name as Mohammed is on its list of detainees.

It said: " The attention of the Police High Command has been drawn to a news flash being relayed by African Independent Television (AIT), Abuja. The television station alleged the escape from police custody in Abuja, of one Mohammed Sani purported to be a top Boko Haram member.

"The police authority hereby informs the public that the information being circulated by the aforementioned TV station is totally untrue and should be disregarded in its entirety.

"No suspect whatsoever, especially in connection with terrorism-related crimes, escaped from any of our detention facilities in Abuja or any part of Nigeria. In addition, a meticulous check of our records shows that no such name as Mohammed Sani or even Sani Mohammed is in our custody."

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