A key member of Boko Haram, Abul Qaqa, was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) yesterday, just as 20 victims of the Christmas Day bomb blast in Madallah, Niger State, were given mass burial.
The Borno State director of the SSS, Ahmed Abdullahi, disclosed on Wednesday night that his officers had arrested the man who goes by the pseudonym Abul Qaqa in Maiduguri.
Qaqa, who had been speaking on behalf of the Boko Haram sect for the past six months, had been issuing statements claiming responsibility for various bomb attacks.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday, the state director of SSS, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi, said Qaqa was picked from his hideout in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State, through the global positioning tracking system (GPS)
Although Mr. Abdullahi declined comment on the precise area where the sect’s spokesman was nabbed, he explained that a team of experts within the service had been on the trail of the suspect, saying, “We have finally got him and he is currently in our custody,” he said.
The director, who would not entertain questions from newsmen or make further clarifications on the issue, added, “I can confirm to you that the spokesman of the sect is in our custody and so you can just report this development.”
It was gathered that Qaqa, an indigene of Kogi State and a native of Igala tribe, was finally arrested after the SSS had been monitoring his phone calls, despite the fact that he used numerous numbers and always replaced them with new ones.
Shortly after the announcement of the capture of the spokesman, an unidentified member of the sect who spoke with reporters on phone confirmed that their spokesman had indeed been nabbed.
“Yes, I can confirm to you that our spokesman has been arrested at his residence in Maiduguri. In fact, he was just arrested without any confrontation as he was taken unawares… our warriors who normally guard him were absent when the security agents raided his hideout,” the sect member said.
He however stated that Qaqa’s arrest would not deter the sect from carrying out more violence against the authority and security agents, adding: “Our struggle was not for worldly gain; rather it is to be close to Almighty God by establishing Islamic system of governance, so why would we be discouraged just because one of us was nabbed?”
The man assured that the group would make a formal reaction over the issue, “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for this cause as the arrest of one of our top leaders will only further motivate us.”
Until his arrest, Qaqa served as the go-between between journalists and the Boko Haram sect.
ACF Condemns Boko Haram, Says Northerners Worst Hit
In a related development, the apex northern socio-cultural body, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday said the federal government should commit itself openly and unambiguously in guaranteeing the security of leaders of the Boko Haram sect when they eventually come out for dialogue.
The request was made on the heels of an indication by the federal government that it was ready to engage the Islamic sect in dialogue towards finding a lasting solution to its dastard activities which has claimed lives of innocent citizens and unquantifiable amount of property.
The ACF, which also called on the leaders and members of the Boko Haram to realise that no religious doctrine permits the killing of innocent lives, accused the sect of unnecessarily inflicting terror, death and destruction upon people who are in no way responsible for whatever injustice they believed was being done to them.
“The federal government should commit itself openly and unambiguously in guaranteeing the security of leaders of Boko Haram when they eventually come out for dialogue as promised by Mr. President,” the statement read. “While it is true that the actions of Boko Haram are condemnable, it is also necessary to call on the Federal Government and all our political leaders, as well as all those in positions of authority, to recall the UN Resolution 1963 of 2010 which urge governments around the world to address underlying causes of civil unrest and social conflicts rather than resort to hard military power which rarely solves them.”
The ACF also disclosed that more than 90 per cent of persons killed by the Boko Haram sect were citizens of northern extraction.
The chairman of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the ACF, Mr. Aliko Mohammed, who stated this at the conference in Kaduna Wednesday, said that the terrorist group was more of an enemy to the north than the people of the south and the rest of Nigerians.
Mr. Mohammed further claimed that Boko Haram had given no notifications for southerners to leave the north but that the calls had actually emanated from the south where, he noted, northerners were asked to leave.