The State Security Services today paraded militants captured last week after a failed attempt by UK special forces to rescue a briton and Italian from their kidnappers in Sokoto. The expatriates were kidnapped in Birnin kebbi and then moved to Sokoto by a splinter group of Boko Haram kled by one Abu Mohammed.
The kidnappers shot Francesco Molinara, an Italaian and Chris McManus, a British, at close range as Nigerian and UK special forces stormed their base in Sokoto in an effort to rescue the two. However, the Nigerian government arrested some of the kidanpper and paraded them today in preparation for thei trial.
The SSS said today that its investigations revealed that the Italian and the Briton were kidnapped by Abu Mohammed-led faction of Boko Haram while explaining the operations that led to the failed rescue bid in a statement read out to journalists on Wednesday afternoon.
SSS said its investigations and a number of arrests made in Adamawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi States led to the arrest of three youths, aged between 19 and 20 years who conducted surveillance on the victims before their abduction.
The three accused young men identified as Bashir Ibrahim, Ibrahim A. Habibu and Gambo Maiborodi were paraded before journalists on Wednesday.
The SSS spokesman refused to take questions from journalists. He also did not allow them to ask the accused any question.
The intelligence agency after its investigations revealed that Abu Mohammed faction of Boko Haram faction was behind the abduction, it launched a raid on the hideout of the accused in Layin Hauwa Area on 7f March 2012.
“Abu Mohammed and five others were arrested while holding Shura Council (The sect’s highest decision making body) meeting. In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, a soldier was killed and his throat slashed while one Service personnel was seriously injured by members of the Boko Haram sect. Abu Mohammed and other suspects sustained various degrees of bullet wounds,” the SSS spokesman told journalists.
He added that interrogation of the arrested men revealed that the guards holding the two hostages in Sokoto had been directed to kill them in the event of any envisaged threat.
The arrested suspects therefore advised that a rescue operation be immediately initiated; more so as one of them had escaped during the Zaria raid.
“Consequently, a joint operation was launched. One of the arrested suspects, Mohammed Rabiu Adam ( aka Dan Hajiya) who killed the soldier during the Zaria raid led the security team from Zaria at about 11 pm on Wednesday 7 March 2012 to Sokoto and arrived their destination about 0430 hours on 8 March 2012.
“Prior to their arrival, security operatives had mounted a street cordon and search operation along all routes round Mabera Estate, Sokoto to prevent any attempt by the guards to smuggle out the hostages. Apparently acting on directive of the member of the sect who escaped from Zaria, the guards murdered the hostages before the arrival of security forces.
“However, the guards could not leave the building because of the heavy presence of security in the area. Upon arrival of security forces at the building where the hostages were being held, there was prolonged exchange of gunfire during which three of the guards were killed while the wife of one of them sustained bullet wounds and was rushed to the hospital.
“No lives were lost on the part of security forces though some service (SSS) personnel sustained gunshot injuries. Altogether, the following persons have been arrested in connection with the incident: Abu Mohammed, Mohammed Rabiu Adam, Abubakar Abdulrahman Habibu, Shitu Salihu, Abubakar Umar and Ahmed Samaila. Meanwhile, Abu Mohammed died on 9 March, 2012 following severe bullet wounds sustained during the Zaria raid,” SSS said.