24 July 2014

Nigeria: Two Weeks After, SSS Releases Two Islamic School Teachers Arrested in Aba Mosque Raid

The Department of State Services, alias SSS, has released two secondary school teachers who were taken into custody on July 7 after soldiers raided the Aba Central Mosque and the residences of some Muslims in the town.

The soldiers also arrested the Chief Imam of the mosque, Idris Bashir; his deputy, Mohammed Hassan; and eleven others over allegation that they were stockpiling guns and planning to manufacture bombs in their mosque and residences.

Those arrested were later taken to the 144 Battalion Barracks at Asa where they were grilled and released after extensive search did not yield any weapon or dangerous materials in their homes or mosque.

Two of them - Abdulrahman Sani and Abubakar Abdulmajid - were however detained.

Both are teachers at New Horizon Academy in Aba. The school is owned by the Aba Central Mosque.

But when PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr. Bashir on Tuesday for update, he said Messrs Sani and Abdulmajid had been released.

Mr. Sani later explained that after detaining him and his colleague for two weeks, the soldiers transferred them to the SSS, which released them after its investigation.

"The SSS told us that the soldiers were just doing their job and that after their investigation they were convinced that we were not planning anything bad," Mr. Sani said. "They also asked us to be vigilant and report any strange thing in our area to them. They asked us to come back next week to collect some of our items that they confiscated when they arrested us."

PREMIUM TIMES understands Messr. Sani and Abdulmajid were taken away by the soldiers because they saw some bottles of chemicals at the science laboratory of their school.

They were then accused of planning to use the chemical to manufacture bombs.

Mr. Bashir, the chief Imam, had told PREMIUM TIMES the bottles of chemical were used for practical studies by students of the school.

"The bottles were not hidden and were kept aside in the lab because there were only five students offering the subject and three of them are already married and the other two appear to have lost interest in the subject, so the bottles are even empty," he said.

The spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, could not be reached to comment for this story. She did not answer or return calls to her telephone. She also did not respond to a text message sent to her by one of our reporters.

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