The Department of State Services (DSS) said on Wednesday it arrested a commander of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) and another suspect, who were masterminds of a bomb attack in Kogi State during the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari.
DSS said the suspects were also part of the terror group that attacked the Kuje Prison facility in Abuja and launched the June 24, 2022 attack on Nigeria Police Area Command, Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
A statement issued by the agency said the duo of Abdulmumin Ibrahim Otaru (aka Abu Mikdad) and one of his associates, Saidu Suleiman, were arrested on January 3, 2023.
It said Otaru sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape.
“He is currently receiving treatment at a health facility,” DSS said.
The statement said the Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack occurred on December 29, 2022 near the palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State, during the visit of the president to commission some projects in the state.
DSS said the suspects were in custody and would be prosecuted accordingly.
The statement read, “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that it has arrested the mastermind of the Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack, which occurred on 29th December, 2022, near the palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State, during the visit of the president to commission some projects.
“The service arrested Abdulmumin Ibrahim Otaru (aka Abu Mikdad) and one of his associates, Saidu Suleiman on 3rd January, 2023. Otaru sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape. He is currently receiving treatment at a health facility.”
The statement signed by DSS spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, disclosed that “during investigations, it was ascertained that Otaru was a top commander of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and either coordinated or was involved in the following dastardly operations:
“The 24th June, 2022 attack on Nigeria Police Area Command, Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA of Kogi State.”
It said a police Inspector, Idris Musa, was killed while two AK-47 rifles were carted away in that attack.
Other attacks planned by the suspects, according to the DSS, included the July 5, 2022 attack on Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the August 5, 2022 attack on West African Ceramics Limited (WACL) in Ajaokuta Local Government Area of Kogi State in which three Indian expatriates were kidnapped.
It would be recalled that five persons, including one Indian, two policemen, and two drivers of the company were also killed in the attack.
The kidnapped expatriates were released on August 31, 2022.
“Otaru operated terrorist cells in and around Kogi State. Similarly, he and his gang had staged several kidnap operations in Kogi and Ondo states,” DSS said.
The statement said, “The service reiterates its commitment to the safety of the nation. It assures to work assiduously with stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of criminality and threats to national security.
“It, therefore, calls on citizens to support it and other law enforcement organisations with relevant information and all the necessary cooperation required to achieve a peaceful country.”
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja