Nigeria News

NIGERIA: JTF Detains Borno ANPP Chairman

Sect Kills 30 Students in Yobe
The Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in Borno State, Alhaji Mala Othman,  has been arrested by the military Joint Task Force (JTF) over suspicion that he has links with the Jam?’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jih?d), better known by its Hausa name Boko Haram.
The JTF arrested the ANPP chairman as gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram members, stormed and killed dozens of secondary school students at Government Secondary School
Mamudo, a village located 8km to Potiskum town, Potiskum Local Government Area of Yobe state, yesterday.
Last week, Alhaji Othman’s house was burnt down by Youth Volunteer group, now christened as ‘Civilian JTF,’ in Maiduguri, after accusing him of being a senior member of the deadly sect. The ANPP chairman is an associate of a former Governor of the state, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.
Following the attack last week, the Secretary of the ANPP in Borno State, Malam Bakura Shettima, issued a statement which claimed that Othman was “an accomplished politician who has the interest of the people and the development of the state at heart,” and not a member of Boko Haram.
The youths who burnt his house claimed that Alhaji Othman was involved in the activities of ECOMOG, a youth militant group in Borno State, formed in 2003. Though this claim could not be confirmed independently, it would be recalled that the report of the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-East, headed by Ambassador Usman Galtimari, had claimed that ECOMOG created the fertile ground for the growth and spread of Boko Haram.
Efforts to contact the Joint Task Force in Maiduguri yesterday to confirm why it arrested Alhaji Othman did not yield fruit, but a top military source in Abuja claimed that, “the ANPP chairman is being held in order to provide him protection. If the JTF had not picked him, he would have been killed by the youths who burnt down his house.”
However, Sunday Trust learnt last night that the detention of the ANPP chairman has created a rift between Alhaji Sheriff and the current Borno State Government, Alhaji Kashim Shettima.
The former governor was said to have been mounting pressure on Governor Shettima to cut short his trip to China to effect the release of Alhaji Othman from JTF custody. Alhaji Sheriff was said to have been angry with Governor Shettima because the governor told him that he wouldn’t want to interfere in the work of security agencies, so that he would not be seen as a clog in wheel of the efforts to end the insecurity in Borno State. It was not clear why the former governor wanted Alhaji Othman released if he was held by the JTF for his personal safety. The state’s Commissioner for Information, Inuwa Bwala, could not be reached on his mobile phone last night for an explanation on the alleged rift, but another associate of the former governor, who told Sunday Trust that he could not speak on the alleged rift, said Alhaji Othman’s detention was a welcome development. “We’re happy that Alhaji Othman is with the JTF,” the man said. “If the youths could burn down his house over an allegation that he’s of Boko Haram, they would not spare his life if they could reach him. It’s good that he’s with the JTF."
DOZENS KILLED AS GUNMEN STORM SECONDARY SCHOOL IN YOBE
Mamudo town, where about 30 students were killed yesterday, is located close to the ultra-modern secondary school, the Turkish International School. Sunday Trust gathered that the attack on the students in Mamudo town, where about 30 of them were killed, took place at about 3:30am Saturday morning when gunmen numbering about 20 entered the students hostels and opened fire on them in their sleep. JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, confirmed the attack saying “Yes, we are aware of the attack, 20 students and a teacher were killed, four critically injured, they are now receiving treatment in the hospital.” A resident of the village, who fled to Damaturu told Sunday Trust that he had counted over 30 corpses. “Because they were our students everyone rushed to the school to know their condition… We counted over 31 corpses.” He said that all the youths in the town were on the run to avoid being arrested by the JTF “But what we witnessed today (yesterday) is pathetic and inhuman,” he added Yesterday’s attack came barely three weeks after a similar attack was launched, killing seven students of Government Secondary School, Damaturu. Two teachers were killed, while many other students were injured. Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has described the killing of the students and a teacher, as ignoble, wicked and horrendous. According to him, no reason can be given to justify such dreadful act. In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, Tambuwal tasked security agencies to fish out perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them justice. He said the gains recorded by security agencies in their battle against terror in the country in recent weeks should be built upon in order to protect the citizens at all times.
 

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