* 2 suspected int’l arms smugglers arrested in Lagos
* Shettima pooh-poohs killers’ understanding of Quran
The Defence Headquarters on Tuesday said “four terrorists believed to be suicide bombers, apparently heading for an NNPC facility along Maiduguri-Damboa road have died in their IED laden vehicles.”
Director, Defence Information, Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that: “The explosions took place at Mule in the outskirt of Maiduguri. Three of the four explosive laden vehicles were demobilized by shots fired at them by soldiers at the check point shortly before the explosions that rocked the area.
Five soldiers were wounded while the civilian casualties are yet to be determined.”
Olukolade also said on Tuesday that over 288 rifles, 35 Rocket Propelled Grenades and 35 locally made improvised explosive devices were recovered after a fierce encounter in Abugasse, Cameroon, close to the Chadian border from suspected terrorists.
This was contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Director of Defence Information and Coordinator of Joint Information Centre Counter Terrorism Campaign, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade.
“The resolve for collaborative efforts to fight terrorism in the region got a boost recently when Cameroon’s security forces made a huge seizure of arms, apparently meant for use by terrorists operating in Nigeria last weekend.
“Other weapons recovered include pistols, mortar bombs, sub-machine guns and various calibres of ammunition following the arrest of two suspects believed to be major arms suppliers to the terrorists in Nigeria.
“The suspects, who were in possession of over 50 Cameroonian passports, were nabbed in a Toyota Jeep in Abugasse near the Chadian border with Cameroon,’’ the statement read.
Olukolade recalled that the Cameroonian authorities recently pledged to support Nigeria’s counter terrorism efforts.
He said that the renewed offensive on terrorists by Nigerian troops had continued to record series of arrests of terrorists and recovery of arms, especially close to the nation’s border with Cameroon.
According to the statement, apart from the arms recovered following disclosure from captured terrorists lately, more arms have been captured in the ongoing offensive operations.
The defence information boss said that a terrorist driving in a green Peugeot vehicle with registration number Bauchi 264 AA, heading to Maiduguri from Alagarno, was arrested at a check point during the weekend.
He said that the arrest of the terrorist had led to the recovery of 15 AK47 rifles and 12 magazines and various yet to be assembled rifles.
“Meanwhile, the offensive on terrorists in various fronts is continuing. The Alagarno area, various points of Sambisa forest and suburbs have been witnessing intense operations since Monday.
“Apart from several dead terrorists, 14 vehicles which were either being used for operation or hidden by the terrorists in various parts of the forests and theatres have been destroyed.
“ Various calibres of weapons and ammunitions were also recovered in the course of fighting and subsequent cordon and search of the areas.
“Intensive air and ground surveillance are also ongoing in the general area,’’ Olukolade was quoted as saying
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has arrested two persons for allegedly smuggling arms and ammunition from Maili to Nigeria.
The suspects identified as Olatunji Tunbosun, 48, and Abdulazeez , are said to be a gang of arm smuggling syndicate who specializes in selling arms to criminals, particularly crude oil thieves based in oil rich Niger Delta .
The suspects were arrested from their hideout in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital by police detectives led by Superintendent of Police (SP), Abba Kiyari.
The police team recovered a total of about ten AK47 rifles and 19 AK 47 magazines fully loaded.
The suspects, who smuggled the weapons into the country from Mali through Burkina Faso, were alleged to have carefully concealed the weapon of mass destruction in sacks of yam flour.
Parading the suspects before news men at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja, yesterday, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Mako said he got an information that a notorious armed robbery suspect identified as Olatunji Tunbosun was stockpiling arms and ammunition at Ikorodu
He said that based on the information, he detailed the Officer in charge of SARS SP Abba Kyari to investigate.
“Kyari and his boys traced the suspect to a village in Ikorodu from where he was arrested. The police recovered one AK 47 rifle from the suspect. During interrogation, the suspect told the police that a member of the gang who is in charge of smuggling the arms to Nigeria lives in Ibadan, Oyo State.
“Based on the information, the policemen traced the suspect to Ayegun Adesun area, Olomi bus stop, Ibadan. Eventually ten AK 47 rifles with serial number UY472072, 8403662, 1625, 1978MG,-16939, 026909, 1953CEH6248, 00569, 19750N44, and 56318149 were recovered from his house” Manko said.
The Lagos State Police boss said that the suspect alleged that he have sold several AK47 rifles and English pistols to he buyers in Oyo. Lagos and Anambra States respectively.
In his statement, Abdulazeez allegedly named his main supplier as GBENGA Olusegun who resides in Mali. He further after the purchase he would carefully concealed the arms in packs of condensed milk before stuffing them into bags of yam flour.
He however exonerated customs operatives or other security agencies attached to the border from the crimine, saying that most of the items come into the country as registered cargoes.
“I smuggle the arms from Mali into Burkina Faso. then I way bill it as cargoes using luxury buses to Lagos and finally to Ibadan. Most of my customers are in Onitsha” he added.
He alleged that he makes between N80,000 to N100,000 from the sale of one AK47. “One of the rifles cost between N200,000 to N250,000 and I in turn sell for between N330,000 to N380,000 depending on the demand” he added
In another development, the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima has said that Boko Haram was a child of misinterpretation of the Holy Qur’an and misconception of Islam.
The governor, who condemned the activities of the sect, said there is no place in Islam where the extermination of innocent lives and destruction of properties is allowed.
Shettima made the remarks, while receiving the Board for Qur’anic Education in the state, who brought winners of the 2014 National Qur’anic Competition held in Dutse, Jigawa state before him.
He noted that the insurgents made misinterpreted the Holy Qur’an and Islam, and unleashed unjust and unlawful terror on Nigerians.
He explained that Islam is a religion of peace which does not condone killing and destruction under whatever form.
He lamented that: “Distorted translation of the holy book by the insurgents landed us in this mess, if we have had good understanding of Islam we would have been in a better state than now.”
He further argued that: “There is no room for extremism in Islam,” insisting that: “We need to go back to Islam as practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), when Islam encouraged Muslims, Jews and Christians to leave in peace with one another.”
“We are presently in a day where some lunatics claiming to be crusaders of Islam are killing innocent people, burning mosques and churches. It is bad interpretation of the holy book by the insurgents that caused all this”, he added.
Shettima congratulated the participants for the successes recorded in the competition, tasking them to maintain the tempo.