In a joint operation of the Army and Department of State Service (DSS) that lasted several hours, some 150 AK 47 rifles, 20 rocket propellers and 3000 live ammunitions, were recovered from the residence and hideout of a suspected Boko Haram kingpin in Gbaganu area of Minna, Niger state.
The troops, it was learnt, raided the residence during the early hours of Tuesday resulting in gun battle with the suspect, during which he escaped arrest.
Blueprint reporter observed that the development has led to serious tension in the area with residents apprehensive of what could happen next.
Specifically, a resident of the community who spoke under anonymity said the people of the area now live in fears following the incident.
“The Boko Haram kingpin bought the two-bedroom apartment from a local of the area about a year ago. Since he moved to the area, he neither allowed anybody into his house nor allow members of his family to visit anybody,” said the resident.
“The operation lasted some hours during which we were perpetually in fear, we couldn’t sleep,” he added.
Blueprint also gathered that neither the name of the fleeing suspected terrorist nor that of any of his family members, is known to the neighbours owing to their secluded lifestyle.
Efforts to contact the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) of the Niger State Police Command, Wasiu Abiodun, were unsuccessful.
However, a top security source told Blueprint that “150 AK 47 guns, 20 rocket propellers, 3000 live ammunitions were recovered from the residence of the Boko Haram kingpin.”
It was further learnt that “security intelligence had been monitoring the activities of the terrorist who is said to be an indigene of Kogi state and discovered that he was piling dangerous weapons in the house.
“When the terrorist discovered that he was being overpowered by the firepower of the security operatives, he brought down the back fence of his building and escaped through the bush path into an adjoining forest around Bosso area of the state.”
Although, the criminal escaped after using the propeller Blueprint learnt that seven members of his family were arrested by the security operatives after the Boko Haram kingpin escaped into the adjoining forest.
It could not be ascertained whether the arrested family members of the fleeing suspected terrorist were in Minna or taken out of the state.
Neither the Army nor the DSS spoke on the development as at the time of filing this report.
It would be recalled that in a similar incident in 2021, the Niger state government had demolished a building of a suspected Boko Haram member who was arrested around same Gbaganu area.
The insurgent, whose house was demolished, was said to have played a major role in a terrorist attack in Abuja.
Birnin Gwari attack
In a related development, terrorists in the early hours of Tuesday attacked worshipers inside a mosque at Sabon Layi, Kakangi Ward in Birnin Gwari local government of area Kaduna state, killing the Imam and one other person, while two other worshippers were seriously wounded.
The various wards and districts of Birnin Gwari have been under siege suffering spates of attacks from terrorists and bandits that had led to the killing of many residents, leaving several others with various degrees of gunshot injuries.
A statement signed by the Chairman, Birnin Gwari Vanguard for Security and Good Governance, Malam Ibrahim Abubakar Nagwari said: “The terrorists stormed the mosque is Ga Allah Babba area of Sabon Layi Agrarian community and opened fire on the mosque, killing the Imam and one other person.
“The Imam of the mosque, Malam Mamuda and one Kabiru of Unguwar Ga Allah Babba were killed. While Bilya Mairabo and Ashiru Mairabo were seriously wounded and currently receiving medical attention at Jibrin Maigwari General Hospital, Birnin Gwari.”
“Almost on a daily basis, terrorists are on patrol across the entire Birnin Gwari local government area, killing and abducting innocent citizens. The situation is more worrisome on Birnin- Gwari-Kaduna highway that has become a nightmare for travellers, breaking security escorts of commuters’ vehicles by security personnel,” Nagwari added.