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Most wanted terror kingpin arrested

• DHQ unveils preliminary report on Aba suspects
…As soldiers comb Abia, Rivers communities
Twenty-four hours after soldiers made public the arrest of  486 Boko Haram suspects in Abia State, Defence Headquarters  (DHQ) yesterday revealed that one of the most wanted terror kingpins was among those being held.
This is coming at a time when organisations have called for tighter security in the South-East, especially with the discovery of two bombs in a church in Owerri.
Soldiers attached to the 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, in Asa, near Aba, Abia State, had intercepted 35 buses loaded with suspected insurgents and heading for Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Sunday. Two of the buses, also conveying some suspects and in the convoy, escaped.
In a statement by Major General Chris Olukolade, Director, Defence Information, the Defence Headquarters stated that a terror kingpin on the list of wanted terrorists, whose name was not revealed, was detected during the screening of the suspects arrested in Aba.

It stated that all security agencies and para-military groups were involved in the screening of the suspects, adding that the exercise would identify “possible security risk or illegal immigrants.”
Olukayode stated that the nabbed most wanted terror kingpin has been taken into custody.
The statement, entitled: “Update on the screening of 486 arrested travellers in Abia State:  Wanted terror kingpin nabbed,” reads: “A terror kingpin in the list of wanted terrorists of security forces in Nigeria have been detected in the ongoing screening of the 486 suspects nabbed while travelling in over 33 Hiace Hummer buses at night along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway last Sunday.
“So far, other security agencies, including the para-military, have joined the screening to ascertain the status of the remaining suspects.  Those identified as possible security risk or illegal immigrants are expected to be identified for further action.
“Meanwhile, the identified terror kingpin has been taken into custody.  Further development will be communicated to you in due course.”
In a related development, security operatives have been deployed in boundary communities in Rivers and Abia states to smoke out the escapee suspects, as it was feared that they may have taken refuge in the villages, since their movement to Port Harcourt was aborted.
It was also gathered that the security agents have been asked to comb the communities for strangers. The security operatives are to liaise with community leaders and youths, who would easily know strangers among them.
According to a military source, “the escape of two buses is a source of worry. Since soldiers who intercepted the buses, the suspects may have run into the boundary communities,  security operatives have been deployed in the area to search for them. It will be easy to find them out if they are in the communities.”
The suspects, who are being detained at the Ngwa High School military camp in Aba, are being interrogated.
Sources revealed that after the interrogation, the suspects would be handed over to the Department of State Security (DSS), for possible prosecution.
Meanwhile, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and the Hausa community in Aba have called for the strengthening of security in the area.
Chairman of CLO, Aba unit, Dr. Charles Chinekezi, said the arrest of the suspects and Sunday’s discovery of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), at the auditorium and car park of the headquarters of the Living Faith Church (aka Winners’ Chapel), was a clear indication that the Boko Haram insurgents have infiltrated the South-East.
Chinekezi said since this was the case, governments of the zone should beef up security. He said since insurgents have allegedly infiltrated federal security organs, the South-East governors should make special security arrangement to curb any security challenge.
Also, the former Amir-ulhajj of Abia State and Deputy Chairman of Aba Muslim Community, Alhaji Musa Iheakaram, has urged the state government and security agencies operating in Abia and the entire South-East to beef up security in their states.
Alhaji Iheakaram, who spoke against the backdrop of last Sunday’s botched bombing and the arrest of 468 Boko Haram suspects, said it is obvious that the insurgents may have made an in-road into the South-East.
“The discovery of the IEDs planted at the headquarters of the Living Faith Church in Owerri by terrorists should be an eye opener because what happened in Owerri on Sunday could happen to any church or mosque in Aba,” he stated.
Arguing that rumours do not go for nothing, Alhaji Iheakaram advised the state government and security agencies not to dismiss the infiltration of Boko Haram into Aba, but going a step further to beef up security in the city.