December 17, 2008

Terror scare: 6 foreigners, 3 Nigerians arrested in Abuja

The Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday announced, at the end of the monthly conference of the Inspector General of Police with top officers, the arrest of six foreign nationals in a particular mosque in Kuje, Abuja, believed to be on a terrorist mission in the country.

The Commissioner, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Mr. John Haruna, disclosed that the suspected terrorists were picked up alongside three Nigerian partners, who were to lead them to four major mosques in the FCT for massive recruitment and training, Haruna added that intelligence reports gathered after the arrest of the gang revealed that Nigeria was among three other countries listed by the ‘Al-Qaeda ’ [a world terrorist body] for attack.

The FCT commissioner added that of the six arrested foreign terrorist suspects, four were with Zambian passports, while two carried Indian passports and the three Nigerian trainees, all looking rich, and well-fed and speaking Arabic fluently with good education, were moving from one mosque to another, using unpopular mosques to carry out their recruitment.

Mr Haruna also revealed that many of the suspected terrorists were already undergoing training in different parts of the country, stressing that the gang was already amassing arms and ammunition in some states of the federation with a view to striking at any given opportunity.

He further told the gathering that already he had beefed up security in the FCT, particularly at the foreign embassies and all high commission offices in Abuja. The FCT police boss also called on other state police commissioners and security agencies in the country to wake up to the challenge to avoid reoccurrence of what happened in the Western world and beyond, disclosing that investigations revealed that Zambia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, among others, were known as terrorists haven.
According to police commissioner, “ In recent times the fear of terrorism has increased even more than fear of crime.

“The unfortunate incident that happened in Jos connoting religious differences even amongst us, hightened that concern especially for those of us in the FCT. We had security reports that there were going to be retaliatory attacks in Nassarawa, FCT, Niger, compelling those of us in the zone to embark on not only massive patrol, but to continue intelligence gathering.

“Last week, there were certain movement of people out of Abuja as sort of exodus, as a result of this and in the course of our patrol, we had an intelligence report we had sleepless night. And one night, we heard reports of this particular number of people in a particular mosque in Kuje Abuja, I sent my officers there, including the area commander, who now arrested six foreigners, all of them well fed, very rich, who have been hibernating from one mosque to the other and never sleep in any hotel. According to them, they have been in this country since November 25, 2008. Four of them have Zambian passports while two had Indian passports and all communicated fluently in Arabic and have themselves to be of a particular brotherhood, which is not popular in this country.

“Upon interrogation, we were able to identify three of their Nigerian cohorts who are equally intakes. We discovered that they never stayed in any particular mosque for more than three days and they are not patronizing the normal mosque activities that we know and they equally used unpopular mosques that are virtually known by their members.

“At about the same time, there was this report that was circulated to the office of Secretary to the Federal Government through the office of the Inspector General of Police, which I happen to read, that from Tanzanian conveying to other countries in Africa that a notorious terrorist gang which took part in the bombing of Zanasala were over 250 people were killed that had also been seen between the border of Zambia and Tanzania.”

“The arrests of these people who look like Arabs and claim to be Zambians make our suspicion that they are Al-Qaeda connected. They were interrogated continuously and as highly educated who had no other thing to do as to go from one country to the other, to achieve their goals. They also said they have been to several other countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan which we all know as centres for training of terrorists (that is Al-Qaeda).

“The IG has personally interviewed them and briefed the President who ordered their transfer to more secured places. All of them got to Nigeria on invitation and that unless their passports were expertly faked; our embassies in India and Zambia gave them valid visas to come. Before their arrival, those that invited them have cleared our securities at the airport, including Police, State Security Service, SSS, and other security agencies at the airport.”

“There might be more of them, they may go unnoticed unless we go out to locate them and we surely believe that what they want to do is to sow that spirit of discord and probably arrange financing in due course, not necessarily immediately because, seeing these people will portray what am trying to say”, Mr. Haruna revealed.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Administration, Mr. Ogbonaya O. Onovo who presided over the session on behalf of the IGP at the conference said the report was part of new intelligence security gathering strategy of the Force, calling on Nigerians to be security conscious at all times as well as report any suspicious movement to the police or any other security agencies in the country.

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