Crime

3 Die, 4 Injured, 18 Others Arrested At Cult Initiation

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The combined team of Kwara State Police Command and Vigilance group in Ilorin, Saturday night, swooped on the hideout of Aiye Confraternity initiation which led to death of three, four critically injured while 18 were arrested.

The cultists from neighbouring states, who were returning from an initiation ceremony were mistaken for robbers by the security operatives.

The command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Olufemi Fabode, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, confirmed the incident in Ilorin, yesterday.

Fabode explained that prior to the incident, the police had information that on Saturday night, robbers were hiding in a bush behind NASFAT village along Airport Road, Ilorin preparatory to unleashing terror on the residents of the area.

He said: “This prompted various vigilance groups in the communities around the place to mount sentry on all roads that lead to the bush and waited until early hours of the morning when the Aiye Conferternity completed their initiation.

“Unaware that ambush had been laid for them, they ran into it. The vigilance groups mistook them for robbers and opened fire on them.”

The PPRO said during the exchange of gun fire, three of the cult members fell and were almost burnt before men of the command got there.

The police spokesman confirmed that three of the cultists died, four critically injured and 18 of them were arrested and are being interrogated by the men of the state CID.

He said some of the cultist came from as far as Lagos, Osun, Ibadan and Oro respectively, adding that more of them will be arrested

He said investigation still continues while those died have been taken to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital mortary , the injured taken to hospital and the rest 18 are cooling their feet with the CID.

He enjoined Kwarans “to always give useful information to the Police with a view to make the state crime free and warned parents to monitor their wards as some of those arrested disclosed that they were yet to gain admission to higher institution, neither their parents know their where about,saying if this could happen then they would graduate to become kingpin of the group,” he noted.

He however urged the members of various security agencies in the state to partner with the command in its untiring efforts to make kwara state a crisis free one.

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SHEKAU’S DEATH: Residents Live In Fear Of Boko Haram’s Revenge

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The Federal Government has placed some states in the North on a comprehensive security surveillance following intelligence reports that some members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect may avenge the death of their leader, Abubakar Shekau.

Also, National Mirror learnt last night that the action became necessary to forestall any breach of the peace by hoodlums who might want to perpetrate violent crimes in the name of the sect.

“As I speak to you now, our men have been placed on the alert. Some states considered as flashpoints are also under strict surveillance because we know that some of the fleeing insurgents may want to launch more vicious attacks in order to restate their relevance,” said a senior operative of the State Security Service, SSS, who would not want his name mentioned.

The Joint Task Force, JTF, in Maiduguri had on Monday said that Shekau might have died due to fatal injuries he sustained in a clash with government forces.

Some of the states that are currently under renewed surveillance are those in the North-East and others, including Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger. Curiously, Kogi also made the list.

There has been no official confirmation of the emergency security measures as the police said such measures would be covert.

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had in an earlier chat with journalists in Abuja stated that those strategies would not be disclosed.

Apart from series of ongoing undercover operations involving most of the security agencies, there would also be an increased deployment of troops in the states under focus, “as their presence is likely to deter crime”.

Government breaks silence over Shekau ‘death’

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The Federal Government has defended its refusal to make an official statement on the claims by the Military Joint Task Force that Boko Haram sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, had been killed.

Breaking government’s silence on the issue, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the government position was to allow the military carry out its operations and manage information emanating from the operations without interference.

Maku said it was the government’s view that the military should be allowed to operate without “undue political comments” by government officials.

“One will notice that since the President proclaimed the state of emergency three months ago but we kept political comments out of it. We decided that it was better for the military to tell their story and that is why I have not spoken on it,” he said.

“We want to remove this security operation from any misunderstanding, especially from politicians. As a government, it is our operation but the most important thing is to allow the military tell its story of what is happening.”

The minister however said the information released by security agencies on the possible death of the sect leader was a morale booster for Nigerians and the military.

“From the story you and I have read, it is very clear that this state of emergency has achieved a lot of results for which all Nigerians are proud of the performance of our military and security services.”

The JTF spokesman, Lt Col Sagir Musa, had said in a statement that Shekau sustained serious gunshot wounds in an encounter with the troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on June 30.

It was believed that he was dead.

Nigerians have expressed their doubts over the news and demanded concrete proof from the military.

Five varsity students arraigned for cultism

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Abeokuta – Five university students on Wednesday appeared before an Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court for allegedly belonging to a secret cult.

The accused – Opeyemi Fakeye, 28; Samuel Popoola, 28; Oladejo Musiliu, 20; Christian Dada, 25; and Mustapha Disu, 28, – are from the various universities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused, who were not represented by any counsel, are facing a four-count charge bordering on membership of an unlawful secret society and breach of peace.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Augustine Ozimini, told the court that the accused committed the offences on Aug. 4 at 11.05 a.m. at Ijaiye-Obirinti area of Abeokuta.

He alleged that the students with others still at large caused a breach of peace as members of an illegal secret society – “Eye Fraternity.’’

“The accused and 15 others at large assembled in a bush at Obiritin area, singing, drumming and making noises.

“They were arrested by the police following a tip-off,” Ozimini said.

He said the offences contravened Sections 249 (3), (5) and 516 of the Criminal Code and the Secret Cult (Prohibition and Special Provisions), Laws of Ogun State, 2006.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Magistrate, Emmanuel Adekunte, granted the accused bail in the sum of N100 000 each with two sureties each in like sum.

Further hearing in the case was adjourned to Oct. 4.

– NAN

Information On Boko Haram Leader’s Death Not Authorised By DHQ

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The Defence Headquarters appears not to have authorised the release of the statement announcing the feared death of the dreaded leader of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, Abubakar Shekau, on Monday.

Emerging trend and investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that the Defence Headquarters was surprised by the statement announcing that Shekau might have been killed, which came out on the day a new Division of the Nigerian Army took over from the Joint Task Force and was assigned the sole responsibility of continuing with the war against the insurgents.

A source said on Tuesday that the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim, and the top leadership of the Defence Headquarters were still considering how to verify the pending issue of Shekau’s killing when the statement announcing his death was released.

It was gathered that the CDS was still considering sending troops to the Camerounian town of Amitchide to carry out an extensive search operation in the area for graves to explore the possibility of a DNA exercise, when the news was released.

Investigations revealed that the JTF sent a report on the issue of the killing of Shekau to the DHQ but the CDS and other top military officers were said to have advised that there was a need for a proper verification before the release of the death of somebody of Shekau’s status.

The source said that the decision of the CDS was taken because of the fact that even the JTF personnel, who claimed to have killed Shekau were in doubt.

It was learnt that while the military high command was doubtful of the August 13 video purportedly released by Shekau, efforts were geared towards getting more concrete proofs of his death.

The source said, “We were discussing with the CDS on what steps to take on this issue; there was also need to send troops to the Camerounian community to verify this claim, conduct a comprehensive search of the area and then conduct a DNA if possible.

“They sent a report to the CDS, and the DHQ said that there was need to verify the claim because they themselves were not sure; this thing happened long ago in June; and they are releasing the information suddenly.

“The CDS did not authorise the release on this information on Shekau; the DHQ was still trying to verify it…”

The Spokesman of the JTf, Col, Musa Sagir, had said in a statement on Monday, said that Shekau received serious gunshot wounds during a gun duel at the Sambisa Forest on June 30 which might have culminated in his death.

“Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide – a border community in Cameroun for treatment which he never recovered.

“It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died between 25 July to 3 August, 2013.” The statement read in part.

Nigerians demand proof over Shekau’s ‘death’

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Lagos – Nigerians are skeptical over the announcement by the Joint Task Force that Boko Haram sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, had been killed.

On Monday, JTF proclaimed in a statement the terrorist organization leader died of gunshot wounds he sustained during the invasion of the sect’s Sambisa Forest headquarters in June.

Col. Sagir Musa, spokesman of the JTF, announced Shekau was seriously wounded and was taken to a border community in the nation’s border with Cameroon for treatment.

According to Musa, Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide, the border community in Cameroon.
Musa also claimed that a recent video released purportedly by the Boko Haram leader last week was a deceit by a member of the sect to convince members to continue with their terror acts.

However, Nigerians are not convinced of Shekau’s demise and asked JTF present evidence to substantiate its claim.

“Nigeria and the whole world would like to see a picture. We need more clarification on this rather than this mumbo jumbo information. It is laughable that the military would make such an announcement without going the extra mile to obtain evidence. This is an unprofessional act by the military and I hope they will redeem themselves from this blunder,” social commentator, Comfort Abey, said.

Ope Aladetola, a student, is not convinced by the JTF announcement.

“I really do not believe that Shekau is dead, more so when even the military does not have real proof. I cannot tell what really the military is up to, but I know that such a matter could have been handled with more caution and with real evidence. The military should have thoroughly investigated this issue and come up with evidence before going to the public,” Aladetola said.

Joel Eke was outspoken on the issue.

“Nigerians are known for a lot of things except telling the truth. It is likely that the Presidency may have paid off Shekau to hide so claim they have captured him and killed him. Anything is possible here in Nigeria,” he said.

– CAJ News

Several Female Boko Haram Suspects Arrested As JTF Now Hunts Women

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The residents of Gomari and Bulunkutu wards of Maiduguri metropolis in Borno state are gripped with fear as members of Borno Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG) and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) Thursday, arrested a Boko Haram female terror suspect, along witha 35-year old man, suspected to be an informant to the Islamist sect that engages women in the smuggling and carrying of rifles and ammunition to launch attacks.
Our Correspondent as told that ‘the fear of women is the beginning of wisdom’, as the security agencies and the vigilante group are showing more concern and putting moreoperation stop- and- search pressure on women than their male counterparts following series of arrest and discoveries that many women arrested were in possession of firearms in the State.
According to JTF sources yesterday in Maiduguri, the vigilante group has already arrested five female Boko Haram terror suspects with rifles and 254 rounds of ammunitions in three wards of the metropolis before the arresting another woman and a man during their routine”stop and search” operation.
Also a reliable security source said, “residents of Maiduguri and Jere Metropolis are being warned to be careful with women whom they associate with, as an intelligent report have it that some female Boko Haram suspects have intensified plans to break/sneak into households and put deadly poisonous substance into their food items”.
The source added that this is a new tactics being adopted bythe sect members, as some of the method they were using in the fight against security agencies and the government in the past failed to yield positive results for the group.
Ibrahim Isa, a vigilance youth of Gomari told our Correspondent yesterday that the arrested female Boko Haram terror suspect sneakedinto Ajelari ward area along with 11 other girls to poison water points and underground water reservoirs of residents in Bulunkutu and Gomari wardsof Maiduguri.
He however said: “we were able to arrest this woman with a rifle and ammunition, hidden under her flowing veil in a tricycle. The 35-year old man was also arrested in Bulunkutuward, and based on the identities of this man, our boyswere also able to confirm that the man did not carry any rifle but sneaked into this area to collect information on our activities and the JTF in Maiduguri.
“The other 11 girls, armed with poison and powdered substance to adulterate and poison water points and underground water reservours are on the run. But we will get them as we intensify our searches and massive hunt for fleeing Boko Haram sect members in Maiduguri.”
Speaking on the use of women in terror activities, Chairman of BVYG, Abubakar Mallum saidthat women, particularly with their babies strapped on their backs, could easily smuggle arms and ammunition without being detected at the check points in Maiduguri metropolis.
He said this was why “our boys are continuing with their”stop and search” operations in every ward and community of Maiduguri metropolis until allthe sect members are rooted out and handed over to JTF for investigation and prosecution, adding that, “the Boko Haram sect members have killed many of our parents, guardians, brothers and sisters, including children and women which the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau said they never killed while targeting civilian and military formations in this state.”
Confirming the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, the JTF spokesman, Lt. Col Sagir Musa said that terrorists do not rely on one style of attacks and killings, as the Boko Haram sect has commenced employing women to smuggle more arms and ammunition for terror activitiesin Borno state.
He said some women were arrested by the vigilante youths in three wards this week, while arms and poison were also recovered from the female terror suspects.
Musa further disclosed that:”because terrorists are increasingly becoming innovative, adoptive, and ruthless in pursuing their goals, the youths should continue with their massive manhunt for the fleeing Boko Haram sect members that are still hiding under the guise of nursing mothers and housewives in Maiduguri metropolis.”

BOKO HARAM KILLS 13 IN BORNO

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At least 13 persons were reportedly killed when members of the infamous terrorist group, Boko Haram, attacked Damboa Village, about 85 km north of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The attack happened on the night of August 15, 2013, Thursday.

According to Ayamu Gwasha, who represents Konduga in the Borno State House of Assembly, the alleged Boko Haram gunmen invaded the agrarian village famous for producing most of the grocery requirements of the state at about 7.30 p.m.; and attacked several places including the security formations.

“Our people have been killed last night by these people. We had anticipated this attack, because we are border neighbour to Konduga where 44 persons were killed early this week, that was why we immediately alerted the security agencies for security beef up, which was being considered before they attacked,” said Mr. Gwasha.

Another source, representing security forces, name and position withheld, confirmed the incident.

“The incident happened at about 7.30 p.m. About 50 Boko Haram terrorists drove into Damboa in nine Volkswagen Golf cars and four motorcycles. They attacked Damboa police station, but the officers there effectively repelled them; they also attempted attacking the military post in the town but the soldiers also repelled them. While that was going on, another group were busy attacking the village and burning some of the houses.

“After the attack, which lasted till 12 a.m., eleven civilians died, two members of the Boko Haram were killed by the police,” said the security source.

“About 20 houses including that of the local government chairman and several shops were burnt down. The terrorists had also looted most of the shops and filled a truck with food items, but they were not lucky to escape with the loot as the laden vehicle got stuck in the muddy road.”

A local farmer, Mustapha Aji, who was lucky enough to escaped through the bushes to Maiduguri town, told the reporters that villagers had to flee their homes and spend the night in the bushes while the attack was going on. He said he believed that foreign mercenaries were among the terrorists who attacked.

“The shooting was too much; it started immediately after the Isha (late night) prayers. The shooters came in several cars and began to shoot and burning houses and shops. Some of them are aliens, because they were speaking Arab fluently. They were carrying big, big guns, some were throwing bombs. Everywhere was on fire I had to run for my life,” said 46-year-old Mr. Aji.

Damboa had suffered several similar attacks in the past one year which led to killing of several persons and destruction of properties.

Mr. Sagir Musa, the spokesman of JTF in Borno, could not be reached on the latest attack, as his telephone numbers are not available due to network problems in Borno

Female Boko Haram Suspect Arrested in Borno, More Arrests May Follow

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A Boko Haram female terror suspect, along with a 35-year old man, suspected to be an informant of the Islamist sect who engages women in the smuggling and carrying of rifles and ammunitions, were arrested today at the Maiduguri metropolis in Borno state by members of Borno Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG) and the military Joint Task Force (JTF).

After a recent series of arrests and discovery that many of the detained women possessed firearms in the state, the security agencies and the vigilante youths in Borno have been searching the females more than the males.

JTF sources in Maiduguri reported that the vigilance youths have so far arrested five female Boko Haram terror suspects with rifles and 254 rounds of ammunitions in three wards of the metropolis.

WOUND OF UNIPORT MURDERS REOPENS: Culprits Stand Trial

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The trial of the twelve suspected killers of four undergraduate students of the UNIPORT at Ikwerre Local Government Area, has opened in Port Harcourt. Ugonna Obuzor (18, Theatre Arts), Lloyd Toku Mike (20, Civil Engineering), Chiadika Biringa (20, Theatre Arts ) and Tekena Elkanah (21, Education) were acccused of stealing telephone handsets. The four were murdered by an angry mob at Omuokiri, Aluu, near University of Port Harcourt on October 5, last year.

Two sets of people – one set charged with murder and the other with negligence – are standing trial.

Charged with murder are: Lawal Segun, ex-Sgt. Lucky Orji, Ikechukwu Louis Amadi (aka Kapoon), David Chinasa Ogbada, Abiodun Yusuf, Joshua Ekpe, Abang Cyril and John Ayuwu. They are the first set of those on trial.

The traditional ruler of Aluu, Alhaj. Hassan Welewa, Okoghiroh Endurance, Ozioma Abajuo and Chigozie Evans Samuel are charged with negligence.

The prosecution, represented by the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Rufus N. Godwins, opened the case with swearing in the first prosecution Witness (PW1), Raphael Ezeji, a senior police officer, who led the investigation into the killings.

Ezeji, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who is the second in-command in the Homicide Department of the Rivers State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), told Mr. Justice Latam Nyordee of a State High Court part of his findings on the death of the four youths.

DSP Ezeji said: “I am a staff [employee] of Rivers State Police command, attached to the SCID, Port Harcourt. I have worked as a Police officer for more than 25 years, and as a registered detective officer for over 15 years.

“As a criminal dictation officer, my job entails investigation of murder (homicide) cases and other responsibilities assigned to me. On October 5, 2013, my department received a report of the gruesome murder of four undergraduate students of UNIPORT at Aluu.

“The report we received was that these four boys were stripped naked, paraded with jubilation and about to be set ablaze (lynched) at Omuokiri Aluu. As a result of this [report], the police division Isiokpo dispatched a combined team to rescue the victims, but because of the distance between the scene of crime and Isiopkpo, they had hung condemned tyres on their necks, while some others were with dog hounding them.”

“The crowd they met on the scene when they arrived were shouting ‘kill them, kill them!’. Before the police could rescue them, they had already poured petrol on them and lit fire,” Ezeji told the court.

Ezeji said photographs of the remains of the deceased and the streets on which they were paraded naked were taken during the investigation.

He added that extracts from the video clips of the killing, posted on the internet, formed part of the exhibits attached to the case file submitted to the prosecution. The internet clips were concealed in a CD plate.

Efforts by the prosecution to tender copies of the photographs and thier negative copies as exhibits were objected to by 10 of the 12 defendants.

The court fixed the ruling on the admissibility of the exhibits for later date.

Midway into the hearing, the court allowed time to hear applications for bail of each of the accused persons.

All the 12 accused persons in their independent applications urged the court to admit them to bail. They told Mr. Justice Nyordee that bail is their constitutional right irrespective of the gravity of the offence they were alleged to have committed.

They noted that they were presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

The fifth accused person, 16-year-old Abiodun Yusuf, urged the court to grant him bail, considering his age.

His counsel, G.B.Sanusi, told the court that Yusuf, being a minor, was not supposed to be tried together with other accused persons in the open court.

In their applications, counsel for the second set of defendants, including the Aluu monarch, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, urged the court to grant them bail, saying their offences carry lighter punishment of two years, if convicted.

They argued that they had already spent close to one year in detention.

They were charged with negligent, to wit felony to prevent murder, crime and misdemeanour.

The prosecution objected to the bail applications and urged the court to dismiss their applications for lack of merit.

Mr. Godwins averred that bail was at the discretion of the court but insisted that due to the serious nature of the offence the accused are charged with, it would be unusual for any court to consider granting them bail, without convincing reasons.

On the first set of accused persons (first to eighth) who were charged with murder, the prosecution said: “It is unusual to contemplate to admit a person charged with murder to bail. This is because murder is a very serious offence. For them to be granted bail, they must show cogent reasons to be granted bail. And it must be on the grounds of health.

“In this one, none of them has given any serious reason to be admitted to bail,” he insisted.

He noted that although the offences the second set of accused (ninth to tenth), were charged with are not capital in nature, “however, even in the simplest of offence, bails are not just granted; the decision is strictly at the discretion of the court.

“The ninth accused person (Alhj. Welewa), is the paramount ruler of Aluu, the scene of crime. He has much influence in his community and most of our witnesses come from there; if he is granted bail, he will use his influence to negatively affect the cause of justice in this matter.

“Moreover, some of the accused persons in this case are still at large, and they live there; so granting him bail will seriously affect the prosecution of this case,” Godwins submitted.

Eighteen suspects were originally held in connection with the killing. The DPP advice last February exonerated seven.

The prosecution added John Ayuwu (aka Johny Barbar) to bring the number of those on trial to 12.

They were arraigned before the court last month with each of the accused pleading not guilty to the charges of murder and felony to prevent crime, preferred against them. The court adjourned till yesterday for bail application.

It was somewhat rowdy yesterday, following the sudden change in the original agreement at the last sitting.

The court at the last session adjourned for motion for bail, but at the resumed sitting yesterday, the prosecution mounted a projector screen to express its readiness to open the case..

He insisted that the PW1 was in court and that the court could begin hearing the matter and midway, motion for bail taken. After some arguments, the court agreed with the prosecution against the wish of the defence.

The case was adjourned till October 17 for ruling. The courts in Rivers are to begin their yearly vacation on Monday.