Monday, 21 April 2014
The Story Of Nigeria's First Suicide Bomber-BluePrint Magazine
The man who bombed the Nigeria Police Force headquarters in Abuja on June 16 was a fairly well-to-do businessman who was actually on a suicide mission on behalf of the Islamic sect the Boko Haram, Blueprint can authoritatively report.
Mohammed Manga was a 35-year-old married man with five children who drove overnight from Maiduguri to Abuja in order to carry out the morning attack which left about five people dead, including a police officer, and many cars incinerated in the blast. He had left N4 million in his will for his five children – two girls and three boys – before embarking on the fateful journey to the nation’s capital.
There was proof also that Manga was accompanied on the deadly mission by at least a collaborator in the plot, who took his last photograph alive as he drove through the streets of Abuja. The collaborator(s) might have disembarked from the car before Manga reached the Louis Edet House headquarters of the Nigerian Police.
Blueprint can also authoritatively report that, contrary to a claim by the police authorities that the bomber had used a Mercedez Benz ‘V Boot’ car in his terror mission, he actually used a Honda 86 model.
These shocking details and others were made exclusively available to this newspaper by the leadership of the Islamist sect, Jama’atu Ahl-Sunnati Lil Da’awati wal Jihad, popularly called the Boko Haram, in a telephone interview in the Hausa language, fielded by the group’s spokesman who goes by the name Abu Zaid.
The group also e-mailed to our Borno State correspondent startling photographs of a grinning Manga as he undertook the revenge mission. It was the first time it was giving a glimpse into its operations.One of the most startling information given by Abu Zaid was that the attacker was one Mohammed Manga, who was better known and addressed by his friends and business associates as Alhaji Manga.“He is originally from Adamawa State but he was born and brought up in Maiduguri, where he embraced the teachings of the late Mohammed Yusuf,” the spokesman said.
Mohammed Yusuf was the leader of the group and was killed by the police in 2009 following the bloodiest clash involving the Boko Haram in which thousands of the sect’s members and other people died.Blueprint was also told by the sect that Manga was Fulani by tribe and that he started both as a commercial and private driver at different times in his adult life. A few years before the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising, Manga began to travel to Cotonou in Benin Republic and later Dubai frequently in order to buy all kinds of goods.He was a major contributor to the Boko Haram’s arms build-up.
Abu Zaid also confided in this newspaper that Manga left a will of over N4 million to his two daughters and three sons and urged fellow believers to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Allah. This, the group said, is evident in the last-minute pictures of Manga, believed to have been taken at a camp somewhere in Borno State.The man’s last will and the photographs are proof that Manga was on a suicide mission and that his death at the Louis Edet House headquarters of the police was not an accident.
“He was calm and never hesitated or showed fear,” Abu Zaid recalled, adding that everyone at the scene that night on the eve of the attack was envious, wishing it was their chance to act and gain entry into paradise.
According to him, the planning of the attack targeting the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Hafiz Ringim, was not in any way different from the way and manner they plan other attacks around the country, insisting that the only difference was that this mission was abruptly brought closer in response to the remarks made by Ringim that he would eradicate the Boko Haram within weeks.The IGP had on June 15 boasted, while receiving10 armoured personnel carriers donated to the police by the Borno State government, that the Boko Haram’s days were numbered.
“Now that the (general) elections are over, our attention would be concentrated and I want to assure you that the days of the Boko Haram are numbered,” Ringim had told a gathering at the Government House in Maiduguri, with the state governor Kashim Shettima present.
Abu Zaid also claimed that the bomb his group used in the attack was a ready-made one, which the sect acquired from abroad. “And we are going to use several of them in future attacks,” he warned.The group dismissed media reports and commentaries that suggest it might not have planned a suicide attack but that the bomb blast was merely an accident in which the attacker was trapped, insisting that it was really pre-planned.“Everyone had waited patiently for the outcome of that operation,” said Abu Zaid.
According to him, the car that was used was not a Mercedes Benz ‘V-Boot’, but an ash-colour Honda 86 model.“I was surprised when the police said the car was a Mercedes ‘V-Boot’,” he said. “It was never a Mercedes. The car used for the attack was an ash-colour Honda 86. We are surprised over the way the police are confused anytime we strike.”
Meanwhile, the group has discredited the conditions for dialogue ostensibly given by the Boko Haram by one Usman Al-Zawahiri and others, challenging them to give a single proof that they are with the authentic group.
“We don’t know Al-Zawahiri; he is not with us,” Abu Zaid said.
“In fact, our investigation revealed that he is an SSS (State Security Service operative) and was brought in to discredit what we are doing and give an impression that we are divided. There is no faction in our group.”
Giving a reason why the Boko Haram chose Blueprint correspondent for breaking the news, Abu Zaid remarked: “You were the first journalist who repeatedly wrote about us when we were not known to the world; you were the first journalist who reported when our brothers were shot at on their way to a funeral procession by members of a security outfit setup by the Borno State government, known as ‘Operation Flush.’ We see you as an objective writer who is never afraid to say the truth; that is why our leader approved the idea to give you the final evidence that we were solely behind the suicide attack at the police headquarters.”
The Boko Haram is believed to be headed by one Malam Abubakar Shekau, the deputy of the late Mohammed Yusuf.