•2 politicians, traditional ruler, Islamic clerics in custody
•Graduate, awaiting NYSC call-up, bomber killed in blast
From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Government’s clampdown on Boko Haram symphatisers has paid off. The military has arrested two prominent politicians and a traditional ruler duying a raid in Borno State. Their identities were withheld.
The politicians, who are known in government circle,were arrested early this week by detectives and troops from Operation Lafiya Dole, the counter-insurgency military team. One of them who is also an as Islamic spriitualist, had fled the state when he learnt military men were on his trail. He was fleeing to one of the North Central states, but was arrested along Maiduguri-Jos Road, another source claimed.
The second politician was said to be a thug often called ECOMOG in Borno and an aide to some politicians in the state. “He is in military net now,” the source disclosed.
A traditional ruler from a Borno community and two popular Islamic clerics were among those arrested following intelligence about their alleged link with Boko Haram. “More revelations are coming and more people may be arrested in days to come,” a military personnel claimed.
Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, confirmed the arrest, but did not give further details. He also would not confirm the identities of the arrested persons, insisting that doing so will jeopardise investigation. “It is true we have arrested some people. They may be known faces. We started picking them one by one. We’re taking them now and we are still investigating them so I can’t give you any detail,” he told Daily Sun.
In a related development, a graduate of University of Maiduguri and a security volunteer was yesterday killed in a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Maiduguri, Borno’s capital.
Mr. Salisu Ali Marte had attempted to prevent a male suicide bomber from entering a mosque at Dalori Quarters located few metres from the University of Maiduguri campus when the bomber detonated the device, killing the young man. He was said to be one of the volunteers providing security for the mosque. He was waiting for his call-up letter from National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) when the tragedy occurred.
The suicide bomber blew up himself near a mosque at Dalori quarters at about 5:22 am yesterday while some Muslim faithful were observing their early morning prayers, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and police said. Marte died while preventing the bomber from accessing the mosque.
Police spokesman, Victor Isuku, a Deputy Superintendent, in a statement, said the deceased was an operative of Civilian JTF.
“At about 5: 22 hours, a male suicide bomber detonated IEDs strapped to his body near a mosque at Dalori Quarters situated along Maiduguri/Konduga/Bama road, killing himself and a Civilian JTF operative who was preventing the suicide bomber from getting close to or access the mosque where many faithfuls in the locality were observing their early morning prayers,” the police disclosed.
The attack came barely two weeks after twin blasts killed five persons including a professor of veterinary medicine, Aliyu Manu, in a mosque near the University of Maiduguri.