• Presidency investigates infiltration of security agencies • Security closes in on Imam Shekau in Mali
By ADE ALADE
Rattled by two daring attacks on well-fortified security formations in Jaji, Kaduna State and Abuja, the nation’s capital, within 24 hours, the Presidency, through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has launched a discreet investigation into an intelligence report that some of the country’s law enforcement organisations may have been infiltrated by Boko Haram.
This is coming at a time security agencies, collaboration with their counterparts in Mali, have intensified their manhunt for the wanted leader of the sect, Imam Abubakar Shekau, who is believed to be hiding in northern Mali now under the control of the Toureg Islamist rebels. It was gathered that following the progress being made in the efforts, the sect leader is planning to escape from Mali and sneak into Nigeria.
The sect had, last Sunday, defied the precincts of a military base when it successfully executed a twin suicide bomb attacks in a church located in the Armed Forces Barracks, Jaji, near Kaduna, killing no fewer than 11 persons and injuring over 30 others. Less than 24 hours after, while the nation was still grieving over the killing, the sect struck again in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), where it killed two policemen at the police special anti-robbery squad (SARS) headquarters, Abuja and set free scores of suspects detained in the facility including its members.
The two lethal attacks came just as the military Joint Task Force (JTF), in a statement issued last weekend, declared 19 top leaders of the sect wanted. The statement, which was signed by JTF spokesman Lt-Col. Sagir Musa, said the commanders were members of Shurra Committee, the highest decision-making body of the terror group.
Saturday Sun gathered that the attacks were seen in the Presidency and within the security circle as a direct response to the JTF action. But beyond this, the Federal Government is deeply worried over the ease with which the sect carried out the latest attacks on sensitive and supposed well-fortified security formations. As a result, a top security source revealed that the NSA’s office has begun to work on a piece of information that the sect must be “enjoying some comfortable level of sympathy and support from some elements within our security agencies.”
The source further said: “The conclusion was based on an intelligence that the sect, more often than not, carries out its attacks based on some accurate insider information. “Though this is not new, as you will recall that the president (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) recently raised the alarm himself that the sect had infiltrated the security agencies and other sensitive organisations under his government. Not many people took the president seriously then, but from current indications, there is the need to look inwards and take care of some unscrupulous and unpatriotic elements within our security agencies.”
The sources, however, declined to disclose how government intends to identify or fish out security agents suspected to be providing the sect some sensitive information used in the planning of their attacks especially on well-guarded security zones. Attempts to get the NSA, Mr. Sambo Dasuki or his media aide, Kunle Karounwi, to confirm the development proved abortive, as the latter insisted he could not speak on such a sensitive matter.
Meanwhile, Nigerian security agencies have continued their collaboration with their counterparts in Mali to intensify their manhunt for the wanted leader of the sect, Imam Abubakar Shekau, who is believed to be hiding in northern Mali now under the control of the Toureg Islamist rebels. It was gathered that based on a recent intelligence support from a world super power nation, Shekau and some of his top lieutenants are believed to be coordinating attacks on their targets in Nigeria from Mali.
This has forced Nigeria into going into a military alliance with the Malian military authorities under the control of Captain Sanogo, in a bid to rout all the rebels in northern Mali, including the wanted Boko Haram leaders operating from the region. At the moment, Nigeria is providing logistics support, including arms and ammunition to the Malian armed forces to launch an attack on the rebels’ stronghold in northern Mali. “With the imminent attack on the rebels’ stronghold, Shekau and his people may be planning an escape from Mali to sneak back into Nigeria.
This is largely the reason to declare them wanted and put some ransom on them last week, so that people can watch out for them in case they are trying to escape from their imminent capture in a foreign land,” one of the top security sources told Saturday Sun. This is even as the source disclosed that government is not interested in the latest call for dialogue by the sect.
A spokesman for the group, Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, had last weekend announced plans for another ceasefire after the earlier one announced by the same person failed. “Government is already set for definite actions that will lead to the capture of Shekau and his team, so nobody is really going to waste time holding some talks with them after they bungled the initial opportunity that was well received by the president,” the source added.
While declaring the Boko Haram leaders wanted last weekend, the JTF had said that “they are wanted in connection with terrorist activities, particularly in the North East zone of Nigeria that led to the killings, bombings and assassination of some civilians, religious leaders, traditional rulers, businessmen, politicians, civil servants and security personnel, among others. They are also wanted for arson and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
“Therefore, anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of any of the listed terrorists or more will have the rewards as stated: Abubakar Shekau (N50 million), Habibu Yusuf (a.k.a Asalafi, N25 million), Khalid Albarnawai (N25 million), Momodu Bama (N25 million), Mohammed Zangina (N25 million), Abu Saad (N10 million), Abba Kaka (N10 million), and Abdulmalik Bama, N10 million. “The others are Umar Fulata (N10 million), Alhaji Mustapha (Massa) Ibrahim (N10 million), Abubakar Suleiman-Habu (a.k.a Khalid N10 million), Hassan Jazair (N10 million), Ali Jalingo (N10 million), Alhaji Musa Modu (N10 million), Bashir Aketa (N10 million), Abba Goroma (N10 million), Ibrahim Bashir (N10 million), Abubakar Zakariya (N10 Million) and Tukur Ahmed Mohammed, N10 million.”