Boko Haram:SSS Closing on Sect Leaders
DETECTIVES have got “substantial” information from the re-arrested Christmas Day bombing suspect, Kabiru Abubakar Dikko Umar, who is popularly known as Kabiru Sokoto.
State Security Service (SSS) sources have spoken of “revealing call logs”, among other information.
Besides, Kabiru Sokoto is said to have admitted being a member of the Sura Committee – the highest advisory/ decision-making board of Boko Haram, the fundamentalist sect which has claimed responsibility for the bombings in some parts of the North.
He was arrested for the December 25 bombing at the St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State in which 44 people died. Kabiru Sokoto escaped from police custody. He was rearrested at the weekend.
Also in custody are over 30 “key” members of the sect. They have been held since the arrest of the sect’s spokesman, Abu Qaqa.
But, contrary to a speculation that he may have been handed over to the military, Sokoto is still in SSS custody, according to a source.
The source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, said last night: “The suspect knows the game is up and he has been cooperative with the panel of interrogators.
“We have retrieved Kabiru Sokoto’s call logs, which have provided substantial information on key co-ordinators of the sect. The call logs are many; we are screening them with the cooperation of the suspect. He is giving useful information on each name on the logs. There is no doubt we will go after these sect leaders.
“So far, he has opened up on the composition of the Sura Committee, which is the highest advisory/decision-making body of Boko Haram, headed by Imam Abubakar Shekau.
“The suspect bared it all on how they take decisions on when and where to strike. He said the Sura Committee has been responsible for the operation of the sect.”
Other areas of interrogation of Kabiru are: How Boko Haram sources its funds; its sponsors/backers; training grounds; and how he escaped from police custody.
Another source said: “Since the arrest of Qaqa, we have picked more than 30 key co-ordinators of Boko Haram for interrogation.
“One of the strange things we discovered is that contrary to their posturing, most of them are not well-versed in Quranic memorisation and recitation or deep knowledge of Quran. Some have smattering knowledge of Quran.
“Most of them also could not give cogent reasons for doing what they are doing. And they said the fear of arrest made them to cause more havoc.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Some of the suspects said they do source arms and ammunition from police armoury. We will soon turn in the evidence to the appropriate authorities for probe.”
The trial of a Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu, and five others resume today, it was learnt that some policemen on trial have confessed on how Kabiru Sokoto escaped from their custody in Abaji.
A police source said: “They said when they got to Abaji, some youths overwhelmed the team, demanding the release of their Mallam whom they were surprised to see in handcuffs. This angry mob never knew that Kabiru Sokoto is a member of the Boko Haram sect.
“They claimed that the crowd was much, that if they had to shoot, many people will be killed. They said the youths seized the suspect from them, but they did not call for reinforcement from the police station to resist the mob.
“They admitted that it was a lapse to have allowed the mob to have its way instead of living up to their responsibility as law enforcement agents.
“But they could not justify why they had to bow to the mob when they ought to have used tear-gas canisters or shoot into the air to scare the youths.”
The Force Disciplinary Committee is expected to submit its report this week for consideration by the Police Service Commission.
The policemen risk dismissal for negligence and dereliction of duty.
Section 30 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution says “the Police Service Commission shall have power to (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the Office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph.”
The Christmas Day bombing at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church killed 44 people.
But barely 48 hours in custody, Sokoto escaped in Abaji.
The incident led to the querying and retirement of the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim.
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