Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Terrorist Gang Invades Anti-Robbery Squad Camp

Photo: Vanguard
Boko Haram.

Gangs of terrorist groups struck yesterday separately in Abuja, Bauchi and Yobe states, killing many people.

In the early hours of yesterday, the gang invaded the highly fortified operational office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Garki area of Abuja, killing two armed mobile policemen and freeing over 150 detainees.

In Bauchi, two innocent persons were killed by another terrorist gang while explosive items were said to have been discovered at the residence of a retired police officer in Gudun Sayawa, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis.

President Goodluck Jonathan has described the terrorist threat as a serious national security concern that requires collective efforts to tackle.

The gunmen attack came barely 24 hours after suspected suicide bombers attacked the Armed Forces Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna, killing 11 persons and injuring scores.

LEADERSHIP learnt that the gunmen, numbering about 50, stormed the SARS detention facility located around Abattoir, Garki, Abuja, where some Boko Haram suspects were being detained and engaged the security operatives guarding the place in a heavy gun duel which was said to have lasted more than two hours.

An anti-riot police officer and a police Inspector, Fakat Zaremi, were killed during the exchange of gunfire while the police on duty killed one of the assailants and arrested two others.

A lawyer and brother of the slain inspector, Emmanuel Domsing, said he was informed early in the morning that his brother, Zaremi, had been killed by the gunmen.

"I was called that my elder brother was killed during the attack, but information is scanty on what actually transpired," he stated.

Over 150 detainees allegedly escaped from the detention facility, including suspected terrorists and armed robbers. The police however, in a statement signed by deputy force public relations officer (DFPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, said 25 of the escapees were re-arrested, six of the invaders arrested and one of them shot dead.

Inspector-general of police, Mohammed Abubakar, visited the facility around 1pm where he was briefed by the SARS commander and the FCT commissioner of police, Ade Shinaba.

LEADERSHIP also learnt other top security chiefs visited the scene of the attack to assess the extent of damage.

The IGP ordered a high-powered panel headed by a senior police officer to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The security around the facility was tight as armed policemen turned back all visitors to the detention centre where notorious armed robbery suspects, hardened criminals and other undesirable elements are kept under lock and key.

A photo-journalist with Daily Independent Newspaper, Jide Oyekunle, was arrested and detained by the police for attempting to take pictures of the SARS office after the invasion by the gunmen.

Mba, in his statement, explained that in the ensuing melee that followed the invasion, about 30 suspects broke out of their cells and attempted to escape, but 25 of them were later rearrested through what he termed "tactical and coordinated efforts."

According to him, "In the early hours of today, November 26, 2012, at about 2am, unknown gunmen in large numbers attacked the premises of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Federal Territory Police Command. Policemen on duty responded swiftly and engaged the gunmen in a battle that lasted for some minutes, at the end of which the gunmen were successfully repelled.

"However, in the confusion that ensued, about 30 suspects in the detention facilities of SARS broke out of the cells and attempted to escape. Tactical and coordinated efforts to re-arrest the fleeing suspects yielded instant result. So far, 25 of the suspects have been re-arrested, while five suspects originally being held in relation to robbery related offences are currently at large."

The force headquarters spokesman added, "Two policemen died during the operation while two of the attackers have been arrested. It needs to be emphasized here that no suspect held for terror- related charges escaped from SARS detention facilities. No explosive or IED-related materials were used in the botched attack.

"Meanwhile, the IGP has personally visited the scene of the incident to assess the situation and has ordered water-tight security around all government and police -related facilities nationwide.

"The police appealed for calm and assured of its preparedness to provide security for lives and property."

2 killed, explosives discovered as gunmen attack Bauchi

LEADERSHIP gathered that unknown gunmen, who were 15 in number, stormed the house of the retired policeman in Bauchi around 8pm yesterday with dangerous weapons, shooting sporadically to disperse the residents so as to carry out their operation.

The officer and his wife, a mother of three, were said to have been killed during the attack while as the hoodlums disappeared into thin air.

Witnesses said that some undetonated explosives were recovered on the roof of the house after the incident which was suspected to have been brought by the miscreants.

Among hundreds of sympathisers who stormed the area to see for themselves the level of damage, was the state director-general, Inter-Religious Council, Pastor Kenedy Masau, who condemned the act and described it as barbaric and wicked.

Masau urged youths to shun all forms of violence and cooperate with security agencies so that they would be able to surmount the current security challenges in the state.

He maintained that government was doing everything possible to curb the prevailing security challenges which was not peculiar to Bauchi State alone , but a national phenomenon which the president and other relevant authorities were working hard to curtail.

An attempt to confirm the incident from the Bauchi State police commissioner, Mr. Ladan Mohammed, was futile as repeated calls to his cell phone were not picked.

Arms buried underground recovered

The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday carried out an operation that led to the recovery of arms buried underground in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

JTF spokesman in Yobe Lt. Eli Lazarus, who disclosed this to journalists in Damaturu, said the JTF carried out an operation-cordon-and-search in Kandawar area of the state where the arms were discovered.

The recovered items, he said, included 5,207 rounds of armmunition, rifle, two pistols, three grenades and one IED. They were concealed in plastic jerry cans and buried in the ground.

Terrorism threat, serious national concern - Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday described as serious national security concern, the continued threat of terrorism in some parts of the country.

President Jonathan who spoke through the minister of state defence, Mrs. Olushola Obada, at the chief of army staff annual conference held in Asaba, Delta State, said with the potential to impede the transportation agenda in the recent achievements by the security agencies in the fight to defeat terrorism underscored earlier position that the extremists threat would soon be a thing of the past.

Emphasising that an integrated approach involving all the security agencies was crucial to effectively combat the threat, the president however noted it would create a stable atmosphere for economic activities to thrive at the affected areas.

He urged the military to intensify its current efforts in working closely with other security agencies to develop new strategies that would address the present security challenges, just as he commended all services, especially the military for its professional manner in carrying out its constitutional roles.

He said, "The nation appreciates the support you rendered to victims of the recent flood incident in some states across the country", adding that government would continue to support in capacity building to deal with current threats.

President Jonathan posited that his administration would continue to engage the military engineers in greater measures to bolster national infrastructure development efforts as cardinal points of the transformation agenda.

He disclosed that the contemporary security challenges confronting Nigeria were new, diffused and multi-dimensional, pointing out that it requires pragmatic approach that would advance the people's confidence in the military.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General O.A Ihejirika, disclosed that the military, with a view to increase its operations had increased the tempo of internal security with the Nigeria Police Force, the Directorate of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies, disclosing that it has achieved in "Op Sanity" I, II III covering Kogi, Damaturu and Mubi.

He said that the security measures in the elements of "Op Sanity, II were operating in other areas, adding that it had helped in several arrests including the recovery of 901 assorted weapons, 89,142 rounds of assorted ammunition, II hand grenades, 150 bombs and 555 IEDS.

In his remarks, the Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, identified pockets of kidnap cases in the state, hoping that with the coming of the military Joint Taskforce, the upsurge would become a thing of the past.

He said that in spite of the serious security challenges in the country, the military remained focused in ensuring that the problem of insecurity becomes history.

According to him, "Our country needs all hands to be on deck as everybody will be playing different roles in ensuring the growth and infrastructure development that will enhance the living standard of the people."

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