Three suspected commanders of the Islamic State (IS) in West Africa international terrorist network and many of their Boko Haram associates have been arrested in Abuja and Bauchi, the Department of State Services (DSS) said yesterday.
According to the security agency, the arrests were made during special operations.
Also arrested are suspected cultists, armed robbers, internet fraudsters and kidnappers.
A suspected kidnapper, Victoria Nwabueze, was apprehended on May 14 along with members of a gang that abducted a victim, Bimbo Adebiyi, who they took to their hideout at Grace Estate in Ajah, Lagos.
DSS’ spokesman Tony Opuiyo, in a statement, alleged that the suspected ISWA terrorists were planning operations in Abuja and other parts of the country.
The statement came in the wake of the report by a British newspaper that IS was sending its commanders from Syria to Nigeria for training in an “exchange programme.”
The DSS said: “Determined to continuously thwart the budding cells of the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram , the Service conducted special operations on identified targets; this led to the successful arrest of Bashiru Adams and Rufai Sajo , commanders of the group on May 5 at Kukuntu Village, Gwagwalada Area Council, FCT, Abuja .
“The Service on April 28 at Muda Lawal Market, Bauchi, Bauchi State, arrested another member of the ISWA , Umar Dogo.
“The suspects were discovered to have· concluded plans to not only perpetuate the ideals of the Movement in the area, but to, in collaboration with Boko Haram, carry out heinous violent attacks on innocent persons .
“Following intelligence reports, Adamu Hassan (aka Bale) and Abubakr Abubakar (aka Alhaji /Buba) , experts in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) assembly were arrested; also on 12th and 19th April 2018, at Gassol and Ardo local government areas of Taraba State, Mohammed saleh (aka Azrak) and Iliyasu Abubakar (aka Ruwa), Boko Haram members and cattle rustlers were apprehended,” the statement said.
The DSS spokesman added that a joint team of DSS, Army and police personnel were ambushed by a 100-strong gang of armed herdsmen in Taraba state while gunrunners were caught in Nasarawa and Benue states and student cultists were rounded up in Kogi state.
“ On 9 th May , 2018 , around Katibu Village , Lau LGA , Taraba State , a joint team of the Service, the Military and the Police while on a clearance patrol , encountered an ambush by a group· of armed herdsmen , numbering about 100 .
“The operatives’ superior firepower forced a retreat by the attackers, however , during the confrontation, 10 herdsmen were killed and several others escaped with bullet wounds; the following items were recovered – 2 AK- 47 Rifles , 1 G 3 rifle , 3 dane guns , 2 cutlasses , and 4 motorcycles .
“On 25 th May , 2018 , Abdulhameed MUSA and Adamu ABDULKAREEM , both members of a militia group· terrorizing villages in Nasarawa State were arrested at Yelwa Village , Doma LGA of the State .
“On 14 th May , 2018 , the Service rescued a kidnap victim· , Bimbo ADEBIYI upon a raid· of the group’s hideout at Grace Estate , Ajah , Lagos State; other members of the kidnap gang· that were apprehended include: Tunde AKINSOLA; Wakil ALADE; Olumide BRAIMOH; Raymond ADINGIOU, IsiaqABESIN, Victoria NWABUEZE and Zabala AMOLOKWE
“Similarly , on 29 th May , 2018 , Umar ALI , leader· of a kidnap syndicate notable for operating around Edo and Delta States was arrested at Oghara , Ethiope West LGA , Delta State; also arrested were some of Ali’s lieutenants , namely: Faruk BELLO , Bello ALI , Mohammed ALI and Abdullahi ALI .
“This gang· was responsible for the abduction of a Turkish national· in Ifaki , Ekiti State on 6 th May , 2018