The Department of State Services (DSS) has fingered members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), in the recent abduction and murder of five Hausa-Fulani residents of Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State.
The DSS said yesterday that the bodies of the five Hausa-Fulani men were later buried in shallow graves in a forest, amidst 50 other shallow graves of yet to be identified persons.
A statement issued by DSS spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, and made available to The Authority on Sunday, said that following arrests it had made so far concerning the incident, the Service could confirm that IPOB members carried out the crime.
The Service also warned that the incident had created ethnic tensions in the state and had the possibility of igniting retaliation and ethnic terrorism in other parts of the country, a development the security authorities were however, prepared to curtail.
The DSS would therefore not hesitate to act decisively within its statutory mandate to ensure that the sponsors and perpetrators of this action are apprehended and prosecuted for their crime, the statement declared.
According to Opuiyo, “the Service has uncovered the heinous role played by members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), in the abduction/kidnap of five Hausa-Fulani residents, namely Mohammed Gainako, Ibrahim Mohammed, Idris Yakubu, and Isa Mohammed Rago at Isuikwuato LGA in Abia State.
“The abducted men were later discovered at the Umuanyi forest, Abia State, where they were suspected to have been killed by their abductors and buried in shallow graves, amidst fifty (50) other shallow graves of unidentified persons. Arrest and investigation conducted so far, revealed that elements within the IPOB, carried out this dastardly action.
“It is pertinent therefore to alert the general public that IPOB, is gradually showing its true divisive colour and objectives, while steadily embarking on gruesome actions in a bid to ignite ethnic terrorism and mistrust amongst non-indigenes in the South-East region and other parts of the country. Following this act, tension is currently rife among communal stakeholders in the state with possibilities of spillover to other parts of country.
“Against the foregoing, the Service will not hesitate to act decisively within its statutory mandate to ensure that the sponsors and perpetrators of this action are apprehended and prosecuted for their crime. Accordingly, law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their civil duties and businesses freely, as efforts are being intensified by security agencies to maintain law and order in the state and across the Federation.”
Meanwhile, the DSS statement also gave an update on the arrest by the DSS of one Mohammed Usman, widely known as Khalid AL-Barnawi, alias Kafuri Naziru, Alhaji Yahaya, Mallam Dauda and Alhaji Tanimu, who founded a splinter group from Boko Haram.
Opuiyo said that “Khalid AL-Barnawi was apprehended by this Service on 1st April, 2016, in Lokoja, Kogi State, while hiding under a false cover. AL-Barnawi was a founding member of the Jama’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid Da’wah Wa’l-Jihad (Boko Haram) and later the Amir of the break-away faction, Jama’at Ansarul Muslimim Fi Biladi Sudan (JAMBS).
“Khalid AL-Barnawi is a trained terrorist commander, who has been coordinating terrorist activities in Nigeria, while talent-spotting and recruiting vulnerable young and able Nigerians for terrorist training by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in North African States and the Middle-East.
“He was involved in many terrorist attacks in states of the Federation, including Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Sokoto and FCT-Abuja. This resulted in the killing and maiming of innocent citizens of this Country. Al-Barnawi is also responsible for the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, on 26th August, 2011; the kidnapping of two European civil engineers in Kebbi State in May, 2011, and their subsequent murder in Sokoto State; the kidnap of a German engineer, Edgar Raupach in January, 2012, the kidnap and murder of seven expatriate staff of Setraco Construction Company at Jama’are, in Bauchi State in February, 2013, the attack of Nigerian troops at Okene in Kogi State, while on transit to Abuja for an official assignment.
“Meanwhile, the suspect would soon be charged to court to face his charges after investigation is completed.
“This arrest is a major milestone in the counter-terrorism fight of this Service. This arrest has strengthened the Service’s resolve that no matter how long and far perpetrators of crime and their sponsors may run, this Service in collaboration with other sister security agencies, will bring them to justice.”
In its reaction to the allegation by the DSS, the Customary Government of IPOB denied having any hand in it and demanded for clear investigative evidences and not name-dropping as its struggles have continued to be non violent and without iota of intention in crime no matter how small.
The Administrator of IPOB’s Customary Government, Comrade Anthony Aniebue, who exonerated IPOB members from such senseless killing, however, asked the DSS to use the same dexterity it deployed in this investigation to unravel all other killings across the country.
Aniebue insisted that IPOB is not in support of any form of killing or abduction, whether of Hausa/Fulani or Yoruba or Igbo but wondered why DSS has not resolved all the killings in Agatu, Enugu, Ondo and Anambra as well as other parts of the country by Hausa/Fulani herdsmen with such gusto, it deployed in the Abia case.
“There are so many unresolved killings and rape of innocent women in their farms by Fulani herdsmen but DSS has never resolved any of the killings or any of the rapes, especially the killings at Nsukka and Agatu as well as Ondo that are still very fresh.
“We want conclusive investigations to all these killings and with that, it would stop and Nigeria will be a better place because this forceful settlement of the herdsmen in other people’s land and converting it to grazing field, even destroying their crops and farm lands without a reprimand by the authorities is an affront on the collective sensibilities of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike.
“If there had been conclusive investigation by DSS or other security agencies of the senseless killings by Fulani/Hausa herdsmen and firm action taken by the federal government, especially this President Buhari-led regime, the abduction, rape and killing will stop.
“You can imagine herdsmen converting your farm to a grazing field and if you talk, you will be killed and your wife and female children raped with impunity.
“What the Nigerian government is doing is unacceptable to IPOB and rather than create tension by dropping IPOB’s name, the DSS should have come up with the details. So, we are calling for conclusive investigation and the mindset to clamp down on IPOB members without provocation should be discouraged as it may be counter-productive.
The group further asked the DSS to as a matter of urgent public importance, inform Nigerians who killed protesting innocent IPOB/MASSOB members in Onitsha and defenceless Agatu farmers.
IPOB also tasked the DSS to identify the abductors of 76 farmers in Enugu state and who incarcerated them in Abia State for weeks while the police and the army traded blames over who was responsible.