By Joseph Edeh
Abuja – The Department of State Services (DSS) said it had foiled plans by the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA) terrorists to attack Abuja and other cities during the recent Ed-el-Kabir festivities.
A statement issued by an operative of the service, Mr Tony Opuiyo, on Saturday in Abuja, said the plans were to conduct gun attacks and suicide bombing on selected targets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno States.
Opuiyo said the mastermind of the operation was Hussein Mai-Tangaran a well known senior Commander who had been on the radar of the Service and the Nigerian Army since 2012.
Opuiyo said that Mai-Tangaran was also responsible for the deadly attacks against worshipers at the Kano Central Mosque as well as an attack on a military formation in Yobe in 2015, which claimed hundreds of lives.
He said that Mai-Tangaran, an IED 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.
He said the suspect was arrested in Kano on Aug. 31 and further exploitation led to the arrest of one Abdulkadir Umar Mohammed on Sept. 2 at Kantin Kwari market in Fagge Local Government Area of Kano.
Opuiyo said Mohammed was a fighter of the sect who left the the group in the Sambisa forest to team up with others toward carrying out the attacks being planned by the group.
He said that another accomplice in the plot, one Muhammad Ali, was arrested on Sept. 3, at Sheka area in Kumbotso Local Governemnt Area of Kano State.
“Prior to his arrest, Ali was the financial courier of the group in Kano. He was one of the conduits through which funds and other material logistics were channeled to the group from foreign extremist elements/sponsors.
“Like Mohammed, Ali was involved in the plot to perpetrate the planned attacks in Kano and other States in the North during the just concluded Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
In a related development, the service said it had arrested the duo of Yahaya Abatcha and Yusuf Mohammed on Sept. 3, in Kano.
“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 FCT Abuja, Kaduna and Niger States,” the operative said.
He said the service had also arrested Abdulkarim Mohammed following credible intelligence report on Aug. 29, in Ajilani Local Government Area of Borno.
” The suspect has been spying on targets in Maiduguri, particularly troops’ deployments/positioning and subsequently passing same to elements of the group in Sambisa forest,”he said
“This Service wishes to thank the general public for its support and cooperation in providing useful information on criminal and terrorist elements in their domain.
“The Service also wishes to reiterate its stance that no matter how long, every perpetrator of violence and criminality against the Nigerian State and its law-abiding citizens, shall be made to face the full course of justice,”Opuiyo said.