Tension in Maiduguri as Boko Haram Suicide Bombers Reportedly Sneaks into City
The Civilian JTF in Borno said yesterday that at least 40 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group, among whom were teenage girls, had sneaked into the Maiduguri with the intention of carrying out suicide bombings.
This is just as the Borno State police command issued a statement calling on members of the public to beware of ladies covered with hijab.
The alleged entry of suicide bombers into Maiduguri has already heightened tension in the city, especially against the backdrop of the two separate bomb explosions masterminded by the Boko Haram terrorists that rocked the city of Kano during the Eid-el-Fitri celebration.
It has been confirmed that teenage girls were used to ferry the explosions – one in a food flask and the other in a jar meant to contain kerosene – to the point where the explosives were detonated in the Kano State capital.
A member of the Civilian-JTF who pleaded anonymity said a suspected member of the Boko Haram who was on Sunday arrested in Maiduguri later confessed that over 40 of them, including two girls, had arrived in the city with the intention of carrying out attacks using explosives.
“We were able to arrest seven of them, and we are still on the trail of about 33 others,” said the operative of the Civilian-JTF. “When we interrogated them, they were able to reveal that the girls, just like they did in Kano, would be used to carry bombs tied to their bodies and covered by their hijabs to crowded places where they would be detonated by some other persons holding the remote-controlled detonator. We have tried to make them reveal where others are being kept but have not been successful.
A member of the Nigeria vigilante, Muhammed Gava, confirmed he also had this piece of information. He said on phone that a Toyota Hilux bus with the colour of the Nigeria Air Force, and filled with about 20 people including young girls, had on Sunday found its way into Maiduguri.
“The bus had the paint of the Nigeria Air Force and it carried plenty people, about 20 or so, both men and girls, into Maiduguri. It came from the direction of Damboa, and some members of the Civilian-JTF tried to stop it around Polo area but the driver did not stop. And when they later tried to go after the bus, they lost its track; but they are still searching for the bus,” said Gava.
The police in its statement called on members of the public to beware of ladies covered with hijab and standing by the roadsides or asking to be assisted to find a direction to a particular place, as those ladies might have suicide bombs concealed under their hijabs.
The police did not say if they had information on the arrest of persons who confessed they were coming to the town to cause havoc.
According to the police public relations officer, Gideon Jubrin (DSP), “the Borno State police command wish to congratulate the Muslim faithful on the celebration of the Ei-del-Fitri, which took place without any incident.
“The command however still cautions residents to be wary of strange females wearing hijabs and moving around crowded places as some of them may be hiding explosives in their under garments with the intention of causing harm to unsuspecting residents.”
The PPRO said residents who sighted such persons should immediately alert the relevant security operatives for proper action.
A top official of the SSS who spoke off the record confirmed the incident but stated that the rumoured figure of about 30 girls brought to the town was not factual.
According to the officer, “what we have was that a large number of suspected Boko Haram gunmen had invaded the town before and during the Eid celebration with the intention of carrying out suicide bombings using some of the girls they came in with to actualise their evil plan. Some arrests were made, and investigation is still on to fish out others from their hideouts.”
Another source at the police headquarters said “some of the girls are said to be camped in hotels, which we could not verify for now; but we are still carefully searching so as not to cause tension in the already tensed town”.
The panic over alleged invasion of Boko Haram teenage suicide bombers came at the time the authorities at the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army had announced the easing of the ban on all vehicles today (Wednesday) from 7am.
Residents of Maiduguri celebrated their Eid-el-Fitr walking, following the ban on vehicular movement by the military authority, citing security concerns.
A statement issued by the deputy director, defence information, Colonel Muhammad Dole, on Saturday evening said the ban would last till today, July 30. According to his statement, the Boko Haram had planned to use all kinds of vehicles, including taxis, tricycles and bicycles heavily wired with explosives to cause mayhem during the days of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.
In a fresh statement signed and issued by Col. Dole yesterday, the military said it had decided to lift the ban by 7am today following the successful celebration of the Eid without the “terrorists carrying out their evil plot to carry out multiple bombings in various parts of the city”. The statement urged residents to “be vigilant and alert” and “report any suspicious objects, persons or movement to the relevant agencies”.
The fear in Maiduguri now is that the said girls being used for suicide bombing could be some of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
The SSS person who spoke earlier said “it could be possible, because there is nothing these elements would not do to inflict pain on the people; we even understand that some of the girls that were used in the Kano suicide bombing were used as mere courier; theirs was just to carry the explosives either in food flask, jerry can or under their garment, not mindful of what the person holding the remote detonating device would do until they were blown off. It is better the public should be very observant of strange young girls loitering about; they could be the girls we are looking for”.
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