Security agencies have arrested five men, including a Mauritanian, with links to Al-Qaeda’s north African branch over the kidnapping of a German engineer, Edgar Raupach, two security sources said on Tuesday. Raupach was kidnapped on the outskirts of Kano in January.
Four of the suspects were arrested during a raid on a store owned by the Mauritanian in Kano last week, while the fifth was apprehended in a separate raid.
“Guns and a laptop were recovered in the store and the documents found in the computer, including an AQIM operation manual, showed that the suspects are linked to AQIM and were involved in the kidnap of the German engineer in January,” one of the sources said.
AQIM is the abbreviation for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – North Africa’s arm of the extremist group.
AQIM said last week it was holding the German and that it wanted to swap him for a jailed Muslim woman, a private news agency in Mauritania said.
The government has come under intense pressure over the kidnapping as well as the failed bid to rescue an Italian and a British hostage recently.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the State Security Service, Marilyn Ogar, said she was not aware of the arrests.
Also, gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, on Monday evening, killed the foster father of its detained spokesman, Abu Qaqa, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The foster father, Abdullahi Bello – a retired prison warder – and the former colleague were killed as they were preparing for prayers in Maiduguri, the sect’s traditional home.
A resident said that the gunmen came around 6.30pm as Bello and his friend were rounding off their ablution and shot them, adding that it could be a way of sending a message to the arrested Abu Qaga believed to be volunteering information to his captors on the sect’s activities.
Qaga was arrested by the State Security Service in February.
A security officer told The Associated Press that one of the men killed by the gunmen was the father of a Boko Haram suspect arrested earlier this year on suspicion of being a spokesperson for the sect.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force said on Tuesday that it had shot a suspected area commander of the Boko Haram sect after a gun battle in Maiduguri.
The JTF spokesperson, Lt-Col. Sagir Musa, made the announcement in a statement in Maiduguri.
“Following a tip-off, a special operation was conducted on Tuesday in Maiduguri, which led to the arrest of a notorious commander of Boko Haram who was involved in recent attacks in Maiduguri.
“He was arrested with his gang members in Jajeri area of the city,’’ Musa said, adding that the commander and his gang attempted to escape shortly after the arrest.
“They attempted to escape while being moved to a detention facility for questioning. Our men had no choice but to shoot them and they bled to death before they were taken to the hospital,’’ Musa said.
He said that the bodies of the sect members had been deposited at the morgue of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Musa said that the JTF recovered one pump-action gun, two bows and arrow, three machetes and a handset, adding that the JTF also shot two suspected bandits after a shootout in Kachalari in Maiduguri.
“Following a distress call, the JTF responded and engaged a group of suspected bandits who robbed some houses in Kachalari, Maiduguri, in a shootout that led to the death of two suspected bandits.
“Three locally made pistols, 15 rounds of assorted ammunition, four machetes and a handset were recovered,’’ Musa said.
The JTF has announced that it will continue with its house-to-house search in the flashpoints of Boko Haram attacks within the metropolis, as it has proved to be an effective means of apprehending the sect members.
In a statement on Tuesday, Musa, said, “What you are seeing (searching of houses in the area by soldiers) is a routine patrol conducted by the JTF in areas considered as hot spots. We will continue with targeted and deliberate cordon-and-search in places such as Abbaganaram, Budum and Jajeri.”
He assured innocent residents of their safety, and urged them not to panic. He also appealed for their support in the maintenance of law and order.g
- SSS steps up search for abducted German – The Nation (transformationwatch.com)
- JTF kills 8 in Maiduguri, detonates bombs – Vanguard News (transformationwatch.wordpress.com)
- Troops kill 3 Islamists trying to burn school – Vanguard (transformationwatch.wordpress.com)