The State Security Service (SSS), on Saturday, announced the arrest of Husseini Maitangaran, a top commander of by Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA), otherwise known as Boko Haram. He was arrested in Kano on 31 August. Maitangaran, according to a statement issued by the service, spearheaded several deadly attacks in Kano in 2012.
The statement, signed by SSS spokesman, Tony Opuiyo, said the service arrested other top Boko Haram terrorists, who were part of a foiled plan to disrupt the last Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states.
This followed the discovery of an elaborate plan by ISWA terrorists to launch attacks that would have disrupted the Eid-el-Kabir festivities that took place between 1 and 4th September.
According to the SSS, the plan entailed gun attacks and suicide bombing on selected targets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno states. The Service identified Maitangaran as the mastermind, adding that he had been on the wanted list of the SSS and the Nigerian Army since he coordinated the armed attacks on the office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone I on January 20, 2012, and other public places in Kano.
The suspect was also said to have been behind bomb attacks on worshippers at the Kano Central Mosque and another on a military formation in Yobe State, which killed over 100 people in 2015.
"Under the banner of ISWA, which he belongs, Maitangaran, an Improvised Explosive Devices expert, had been prepping and priming others for the perpetration of suicide bombing attacks carried out by the group in the past within the North-East region," said the SSS.
Maitangaran's arrest, the SSS revealed, led to the arrest of other Boko Haram leaders, including Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed, at Kantin Kwari Market in Fagge Local Government Area in Kano. Mohammed, a fighter of the sect, was said to have left Sambisa Forest to team up with one Ismaila for the actualization of the foiled terror plot. Also nabbed by the SSS was one Muhammad Ali who, on 3 September, was picked up at Sheka area in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state.
The SSS described Ali as one of the conduits through which funds and other logistic materials were channeled to Boko Haram from foreign sponsors of terrorism. Ali was also said to have been involved in the plot to disrupt the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.
On the same day he was arrested, the SSS said it similarly nabbed Yahaya Mohammed Abatcha and Yusuf Mohammed along Top Medical Road, Tunga, in Minna, capital of Niger State. Abatcha and Mohammed are said to belong to the Habib Al-Barnawi-led ISWA, where they are fighters.
"The duo are the leading elements of a cell of the extremist group and have been hibernating and furthering the doctrines of the group in the city. They were also to be responsible for operations in the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna and Niger state," the SSS stated.
Earlier on 29 August, during counter-terrorism operations around Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Gombe state, the SSS, in tandem with other security agencies, apprehended one Abdulkarim Mohammed AKA Baba Maigiwa. He was arrested at Ajilani area of Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
Baba Maigiwa, said the SSS, was arrested based on intelligence indicating his status as a spy/double agent to Boko Haram in the North-East. He was said to have been spying on targets in Maiduguri, particularly troops’ deployments/positioning and passing information to the dangerous sect. At the same time, Baba Maigiwa also pretended to be working for the security forces.
A follow-up operation to his arrest resulted in the arrest of three other terrorists, who are currently providing useful information to the SSS on the diabolical plans of the group. The Service also intercepted two Volkswagen Golf cars as well as a Ford car used by Boko Haram for logistics.
Relatedly, the SSS, in a bid to curb the flow of arms and ammunition to Gana-Akwaza gangsters in Benue State, arrested one Moses Peverga in Abuja. The suspect, who is based in Lokoja, Kogi State, was trailed and nabbed after investigations revealed him to be a major source of arms supply to the Gana group and other criminal gangs operating in Benue, Kogi and Nassarawa states.
The SSS said it remains on the trail of other individuals involved in funelling arms to criminal gangs. It called on members of the general public to continue cooperation with it by providing useful information on criminal and terrorist elements in their respective areas.