By Thompson Yamput, Lokoja.
The suspected mastermind of the Dec. 29, 2002 explosion at Okene, which left some innocent persons dead or wounded, has been arrested and taken into custody by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The suspected mastermind, Abdulmumin Ibrahim-Otaru (a.k.a. Abu Mikdad) and one of his associates, Saidu Suleiman, allegedly launched the attack with a Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) in Okene, Kogi, during the visit of President Muhammad Buhari to inaugurate some projects.
Mr Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of DSS, in a statement issued in Lokoja, said that the mastermind and his accomplice were arrested in Kogi on Tuesday by personnel of the service.
Afunnaya said that during the arrest, Ibrahim-Otaru sustained gunshot wounds on his left foot, while attempting to escape, but “he is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed health facility.
“During investigations, it was ascertained that Ibrahim-Otaru was a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and had either coordinated or was involved in dastardly operations, including the June 24, 2022 attack on Nigeria Police Area Command, Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA of Kogi State.
“Unfortunately, a Police Inspector, Idris MUSA, was killed and two AK-47 rifles were carted away in that attack.
“It would be recalled that five persons, including one Indian, two policemen and two drivers of the company, were also killed in the attack, while the kidnapped expatriates were only released on Aug 31, 2022.
“Ibrahim-Otaru operated terrorists’ cells in and around Kogi State and with his gang, he had staged several kidnap operations in Kogi and Ondo states.
“With the suspects in our custody, they will be prosecuted accordingly,” he said.
While assuring that the suspects would be prosecuted accordingly, Afunnaya reiterated the commitment of the DSS to ensuring the safety of the nation.
He said: “We will work assiduously with stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of criminality and threats to national security.”
The DSS spokesman, however, called on citizens to support the DSS and other law-enforcement organisations with relevant information and all the necessary cooperation required to attain a peaceful Nigeria.