Abuja — A new insurgent group known as Nassiruddeen Li Ahlil Jihad Alal Kitab Was Sunnah, or Islamic Victors Committed to Qur’an and Sunnah, yesterday claimed that it had taken possession of a large cache of weapons following its attack on military barracks in Munguno in Borno State recently.
The head of the new group, Abu Muhammed Ibn Muhammed Abubakar Al-Shakawi, in a YouTube message, said that the weapons, which he displayed, were hauled from the military barracks sacked by adherents of the group.
Agitated and visibly excited, Al-Shakawi gesticulated in the film as he was being cheered on by his followers, who shouted “Allahu Akbar”, meaning “God is great”, and showed off the cache of arms and ammunition.
The footage showed several M16 rifles, AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers, boxes of ammunition, various sizes of bullets and other assorted weapons. The group’s leader estimated that there were about 30,000 pieces of AK-47 bullets on display.
“We thank God who gave us the wisdom and ability to uplift his religion. I bring you good tidings from our escapade at Munguno where, with God’s guidance, we were able to subdue the soldiers and drive them away,” Al-Shakawi explained. “This is indeed a great success. We are very happy with the development. We burnt the premises and they (the soldiers) took to their heels, so we carted away these guns and ammunition. This is indeed a great feat that we accomplished.”
Although it is unclear whether the attack was carried out by Ahlul Jihad, LEADERSHIP checks showed that the details given by Al-Shakawi bear resemblance to the March 3 attack during which JTF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said 20 of the attackers were killed.
But in the film, which appears to show the sect on a wide expanse of desert, the weapons al-Shakawi claimed they took from the soldiers were scattered on the ground while he was surrounded by the adherents of the group equally wearing army fatigue uniform.
Al-Shakawi’s said: “Peace be unto you my co-Jihadist. I thank Allah once again for giving us this opportunity. God has blessed us with arms and we are very happy because we went there (the barracks) to test their ability and they (the soldiers) ran away.”
“This is just the beginning,” he continued, directing the camera man to capture the guns, “even though I will not give details of how many we have got.”
He urged his viewers to take a closer look at the weapons and decide for themselves how many guns were there. He corroborated one of his followers who shouted that the army claimed they killed 20 of them, but said they were not killed but martyred.
“I want to categorically state that the claim of the soldiers that they killed 20 of us is a fabrication. Some of us were martyred, but those who were martyred are not up to 20.”
Yesterday’s development is coming in the wake of the federal government setting up a committee to seek ways of curbing terrorism in the north and granting amnesty to the Boko Haram insurgents.
When LEADERSHIP called the chairman of the committee, Barrister Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, who is also the minister of special duties, his telephone line was switched off, and there was no response to a text message sent to him.
Ahlul Jihad is the third known belligerent sectarian group that has emerged since the beginning of the current spate of violence began in 2001.The second group that sprang up was the Ansarul Musliminafi Biladil Sudan.
Gunmen kill Borno district head
In a related development, violence has erupted again in Borno State as gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect attacked the district palace of Alhaji Baba Zarabe in Lawanti ward of Bale and shot him dead in the presence of his wives and children at about 2pm Tuesday.
Bale district is 165 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital. According to a palace resident, the gunmen came in two Golf Volkwagen vehicles and two motorcycles from Damboa on the Gwoza-Damboa road and demanded the presence of the district head, before firing several gunshots into the air. They shot him in the chest and head.
The eyewitness said: “All of us at this palace were shocked and terrified and had to run into various directions for safety, into our houses and shops, before one of the gunmen chanted, God is great and fled towards Damboa, in the same vehicles used in the attacks and killing of our district head yesterday (Tuesday). No other person was killed or injured, as the gunmen targeted our district head.”
LEADERSHIP also learnt that the district head of Pulka, Alhaji Ali Pulka, was last month assassinated at his palace, while three district heads in northern Borno were also killed by suspected gunmen at their respective palaces last December and in January this year.
Confirming the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, the Borno State police command spokesman, Gideon Jibrin, said there was an attack at one of the district heads’ palace in southern Borno, where the traditional ruler of Bale was feared killed by suspected armed hoodlums.
He said no arrests had been made by either the military Joint Task Force (JTF) or the police.
JTF nabs 7 Boko Haram Suspects, Frees Captives In Kano
The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Kano has arrested seven suspected members of Boko Haram and rescued four women.
The spokesperson of the JTF in the state, Lt. Colonel Ikedechi Iweha, confirmed that men of the JTF had carried out a raid at Farawa and Sheka-Zoo Road quarters in the early hours of yesterday.
Iweha said the JTF had recovered one AK-47 rifle, two laptops, over 43 improvised explosive devices, 46 Motorola walkie-talkies, and chemicals.
He noted that no life was lost while there was no causality among the soldiers.