3 top Boko Haram leaders nabbed •As 2 foreign agencies join counter-terrorism operations •250 Nigerians died in sect’s attacks between Jan and Feb

Nigeria forced evictions

Nigeria forced evictions (Photo credit: Amnesty International)

 Written by Our Reporters Monday, 27 February 2012

AS the Boko Haram attacks mount, security agencies in the country are recording successes in rounding up top leaders of the sect through active collaborations with two foreign intelligence agencies said to be very active now in Nigeria.

In the last 48 hours, three top leaders of the sect were reportedly arrested in operations involving intelligence sharing and application among the three collaborating intelligence agencies.

One of the top leaders, who was described as very close to the sect’s leader, Ahmed Shekau, was said to have been arrested in a suburb of Kano city on Friday evening.

On Saturday morning, another top leader was reportedly arrested in Kebbi State, a few weeks after the suspect fled a northeastern city to evade tracking surveillance by security agents.

The third leader is said to be holed up in a quarter in Sokoto State with security agents ready to swoop on his hideout, which was reported to be under lockdown in the last two days.

Their names and identities were, however, not disclosed for security reasons. The three join four other top leaders of the sect already in the custody of the secret police.

A security source, who craved anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, confirmed that series of arrests have been made since Friday but declined to provide details on the grounds that the issue is an ongoing operations.

Findings further revealed that the capacity of Nigerian operatives were boosted by the active participation of the British intelligence service, the M15 and Israeli service, MOSSAD which had both deployed operatives to Nigeria to track the insurgents.

The two agencies were said to be working closely with the Nigeria Police until recently when they switched to the nation’s secret police due to series of leakages in the handling of Boko Haram suspects.

Nigerian Tribune was told that the M15 indeed provided the intelligence that led to the arrest of Kabiru Sokoto at the Borno Governor’s Lodge, as well as ongoing collaboration with Nigerian operatives in several cities in northern Nigeria.

Further investigations by the Nigerian Tribune, however, showed that the Nigerian intelligence community and their foreign partners are worried that the arrest of top leaders of the sect has not yielded actionable intelligence capable of stopping attacks by the sect.

“Our challenge now is to stop the attacks at planning stage,” a source said, adding that “while we are making progress, we have challenges in terms of infiltrating the sleeper cells of the organisation.”

Meanwhile, more than 250 Nigerians have been killed in about eight bombing incidents by the deadly Boko Haram sect in Kano, Niger and Borno states between January and February this year.

The figure above represents the number of those confirmed dead in Boko Haram-induced bombings by the security operatives.

The multiple explosions in Kano State on Friday, January 20 recorded the highest number of casualties during the period in review, with the number of the dead put at over 185, including over 150 civilians, 29 policemen, three men of the State Security Service (SSS) and one Customs officer.

Headquarters of security agencies such as the police, SSS, the Nigerian Immigration Service, Customs and others were the targets in the coordinated bomb attacks.

A Channels Television reporter, Mr Enenche Akogwu, was killed while on duty for his news organisation in the Kano tragedy.

On Monday, January 30 five people were killed yet in another bombing incident in Maiduguri, just as members of the sect detonated another explosive substance in Naibawa area of Yakatako police station. Casualty figure in the onslaught on the police formation was unknown.

What could have been another massive bloodshed in Kano was averted on Monday, January 23 by the police as eight bomb-laden cars were discovered in the capital city. This came a few days after explosive materials were defused in 10 vehicles also in the city.

On Wednesday, January 4, four lives were lost in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, following a bomb explosion in which Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

In the month of February, the major bomb attack took place on Monday, February 20 when the sect detonated explosives in Baga Market in Borno, Maiduguri, killing 30 people.

Between February 6 and 24, over 25 persons were killed and scores injured in bomb attacks by Boko Haram in states like Kano, Borno and Niger, which have gained notoriety as flash points for the deadly sect.

Spokesperson for the sect, Abu Qaqa, had told The Guardian of London Newspaper that Boko Haram had killed over 1,000 people since its attacks started in 2009. He had also said the group would not settle for negotiation with the Federal Government until the nation had been brought to its knees.

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