The Department of State Service (DSS) said yesterday it arrested a wanted terrorism suspect and member of the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA), Husseini Mai-Tangaran.
A statement by a DSS official, Tony Opuiyo, said the Service uncovered and foiled plans by the ISWA terrorists to cause mayhem that would have disrupted the Eid-Kabir Sallah festivities.
He said the plan was to conduct gun attacks and suicide bombing on selected targets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states.
He said Mai-Tangaran was the brain behind major terror attacks in parts of the country, especially the one of January 20, 2012 in Kano
“The mastermind of the operation is Husseini Mai-Tangaran, a well known senior ISWA commander, who has been on the Service and Nigeria Army radar since 2012, when he spearheaded armed attacks on the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone I, on January 20, 2012, as well as other public places in Kano,” he added.
The DSS said Mai-Tangaran was also responsible for the deadly attacks on worshippers at the Kano Central Mosque, as well as an attack on a military formation in Yobe State in 2015, which claimed hundreds of lives.
Opuiyo explained that under the banner of the ISWA, which he belongs, Mai-Tangaran, an IED expert, had been prepping and priming others for the perpetration of suicide bombing attacks carried out by the group in the past within the North-East region.
He also said Mai-Tangaran was arrested in Kano on August 31, 2017, and that further exploitation led to the arrest of one Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed by the Service on September 2, 2017, at Kantin Kwari Market in Fagge Local Government Area of Kano.
“Mohammed was a fighter of the sect who left the conclave of the group in the Sambisa forest to join ranks with Ismaila towards carrying out attacks being planned by the group.
“Also, another accomplice in the plot, one Muhammad Ali, was arrested on September 3, 2017, at Sheka area in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state. Prior to his arrest, Ali was the financial courier of the group in Kano.
“He was one of the conduits through which funds and other material logistics were channelled to the group from foreign extremist elements/sponsors. Like Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed, Ali was involved in the plot to perpetrate the planned attacks in Kano and other states in the North during the just concluded Eid-Kabir celebration,” the DSS stated.
Opuiyo also said that in a related tactical operation on September 3, 2017, the Service apprehended Yahaya Mohammed Abatcha and Yusuf Mohammed along Top Medical Road, close to Mobile Quarters in Tunga area of Minna, Niger State.
He added that Abatcha and Mohammed were both fighters of the Habib Al-Barnawi-led Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA) and leading elements of a cell of the extremist group and have been hibernating and furthering the doctrines of the group in the city.
He said they were also to be responsible for operations in the FCT, Kaduna and Niger States.
He added that in Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Gombe axis, based on credible intelligence, the Service, in concert with sister security agencies, conducted a counter-terrorism operation on August 29, 2017.
This resulted in the apprehension of one Abdulkarim Mohammed, also known as Baba Maigiwa, at Ajilani area of Jere Local Government Area of Borno State, Opuiyo said.
He explained that Baba Maigiwa was apprehended based on intelligence, which indicates his status as a spy/ double agent to the Boko Haram group in the North-East region.
He added that the suspect had been spying on targets in Maiduguri, particularly troops’ deployments/positioning and subsequently passing same to elements of the group in Sambisa forest, while also pretending to be working for the security forces.
He added that in a follow-up operation after the arrest of Baba Maigiwa, the Service further arrested the three individuals who are currently cooperating in providing useful information on the plans of the group.
He also said that in a bid to stem the flow of arms and ammunition in the ongoing criminality and gangsterism in Benue State being perpetrated by Gana Akwaza-led gang, the Service arrested Moses Peverga in Abuja.
He said, “Subject, who is based in Lokoja, was trailed and apprehended after investigations revealed him to be a major source of arms supply to the Gana group and other criminal groups to perpetrate violence in Benue and other adjoining states of Kogi and Nasarawa.
He said the Service was pursuing other leaders and individuals who are believed to be involved in these plans.
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