Operatives of the Nigerian Army yesterday killed five and injured two suspected members of the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Ladda'awatih Wal-Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, following a shootout between the two groups in Kaduna.
And in Abuja, there were feelers that men of the Nigerian Army foiled an attempt to attack Abuja, just as gunmen were reported to have killed six people in Riyom, near Jos, in Plateau State.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the Army operation, which lasted about five hours, took place at Namadi Road in Rigasa district of Igabi Local Government Area (LGA) in Kaduna metropolis when the men of the Nigerian Army stormed a bomb making factory in the area following a tip-off.
The Army operatives, LEADERSHIP further gathered, demolished the bomb factory after hours of gun battle, arrested some suspects and also discovered already made Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Ibrahim Yusuf, said the well-armed soldiers, numbering about 50, stormed the house around 1:30am and conducted a search around the whole area.
"I saw dead bodies of the occupants of the house, numbering at least five, while their children were taken away by the soldiers; but we don't know where they were taken to. We learnt that the house belongs to one woman who rented the house out at the sum of N120,000 per annum," he said.
Yusuf appealed to traditional rulers and government to set up a committee to oversee the issue of rents, landlords and agents who are in the habit of giving out houses to people of questionable character.
The ward head of Miyyetti Allah, Alhaji Adamu, told journalists that when he heard the gunfire, he came out to ascertain what was going on, only to meet some soldiers outside his house who told him to go back to his house, and not to panic.
Confirming the incidence, the Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, 1 Division, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, said the operation took place between 1:30am and 6am. He said the terrorists had opened fire on the soldiers when they arrived at the area.
According to Usman, "On approaching the factory, some suspected terrorists opened fire and also threw already primed IED at the troops."
He further stated that the factory had been demolished and advised property owners to be wary of their tenants, even as he advised people to always volunteer information to the security agencies.
The operatives recovered five Mark 4 rifles, three pump action rifles, 20 rolls of detonating cords, 21 nine volts batteries, two remote switches, one testing meter, five assorted daggers and jackknives and other IED materials.
He equally assured that the actions of the Army and 1 Division in particular were aimed at ensuring peace and securing lives and property of law abiding citizens of the state, urging the public to always report suspicious movement to the concern authorities
In Abuja, there are indications that the Army Garrison headquarters had foiled a plot by some terrorists to carry out a suicide bombing in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to an unconfirmed report, two drums loaded with explosives, several cans including those of vegetable oils and palm oil converted to IEDS, about six AK 47 rifles and timing materials were recovered from the hideout of the plotters.
Military sources disclosed that two persons, the landlord of the house where the high calibre explosives were recovered and another man described as the middleman who facilitated the movement of the plotters as well as the IEDS to the house where the attack was to be coordinated, have been arrested by the AHQ Garrison, while a manhunt has been activated for the persons scheduled to carry out the bombings.
It was gathered that both the landlord and the middleman are being detained in a military facility in Abuja while the Police and the SSS have been co-opted into the effort to arrest the two runaway plotters.
Investigations showed that security agencies have beefed up security in and around Abuja, with all exit and entry points receiving special attention.
Meanwhile, patrol teams of the AHQ Garrison, Guards Brigade, SSS and the police were moving round the city while gadgets had been activated to intercept any movement of explosives or IEDS around the FCT.
Some military and public institutions premises are under the watchful eyes of heavily armed, fierce looking soldiers. However, when LEADERSHIP called at the Army Headquarters, it was gathered that the report had not been officially filed at the time of filing this report.
Gunmen Kill 6 in Jos
Unknown gunmen yesterday stormed Bachit village and killed three people, leaving several others with severe injuries and shattering the relative peace in the troubled Riyom Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau State.
A retired soldier residing in Rim village in the same local government was also killed in his house by some people suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Christmas Day while celebrating with his family.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed also that the gunmen, who came in large numbers, stormed Bachit village yesterday morning and forced their way into a home where they shot a man and his wife in their sleep.
An eyewitness further disclosed that the marauders, while trying to escape, ambushed a man in the same village and killed him while other unlucky people that crossed their paths were also molested and shot, some of whom are presently receiving treatment at the hospital.
A member of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Hon. Daniel Dem, representing Riyom constituency, confirmed that about six people were killed in Riyom in the last few days.
He further said that the pattern of the killings were not different from the previous ones, adding that those behind the act were the same set of people that had been troubling the area.
He appealed for calm and enjoined the people to be more vigilant. He also counseled them not to be overly reliant on the security men posted to the area, but that they should brace up and not be carried away by the Christmas and New Year festivities.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abuh Emmanuel, said that he was yet to get the details of the attack and promised to get back to our reporter, but never did at the time of falling this report.
Police arrest 4 over attempt to bomb Enugu Airport
Meanwhile, the Enugu state police command have arrested four persons for allegedly attempting to blow up the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu with explosives, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, has said.
The ploy was earlier yesterday by operatives of the Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) of the Enugu State Police Command.
The suspects, whose identities had been kept secret for security reasons, were apprehended while driving to the airport at about 8.30am yesterday.
The four suspects including the driver of their vehicle with registration number KJA 359 AP were reportedly heading towards the airport when they were stopped in their tracks by EOD operatives on routine duties.
According to the PPRO the suspects were arrested after the vehicle conveying them was stopped, upon a thorough search by the operatives, some items believed to be dangerous fireworks contained in two cartons were discovered in the vehicle.