The Department of State Services, DSS, has announced the arrest of the mastermind of the explosion that rocked Okene, Kogi State, killing some persons.
The explosion occurred on December 29, 2022, during the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Kogi State where he inaugurated some projects by the government of Governor Yahaya Bello.
According to the spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, those arrested for allegedly being behind the “Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack” were Abdulmumin Ibrahim Otaru (a.k.a. Abu Mikdad) and Saidu Suleiman said to be his associate.
They were said to have been arrested on January 3, 2023.
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Otaru was said to have sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while trying to escape.
“He is currently receiving treatment at a health facility,” the DSS spokesman said.
The DSS described Otaru as a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, and had been involved in a series of attacks.
The statement containing some details of the outcome of investigations carried out by the DSS on the suspects reads:
“The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to inform the public that it has arrested the mastermind of the Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack which occurred on 29th December, 2022, near the Palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State during the visit of the President to commission some projects. The Service arrested Abdulmumin Ibrahim OTARU (aka Abu Mikdad) and one of his associates, Saidu SULEIMAN on 3rd January, 2023. OTARU sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape. He is currently receiving treatment at a health facility.
“2. During investigations, it was ascertained that OTARU was a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and either coordinated or was involved in the following dastardly operations:
- The 24th June, 2022 attack on Nigeria Police Area Command, Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA of Kogi State. A Police Inspector, Idris MUSA was killed and two (2) AK-47 rifles carted away in that attack;
- The 5th July, 2022 attack on Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje Area Council of the FCT; and
iii. 5th August, 2022 attack on West African Ceramics Ltd (WACL) in Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi in which three (3) Indian expatriates were kidnapped. It would be recalled that five (5) persons including one (1) Indian, two (2) Policemen and two (2) drivers of the company were also killed in the attack. The kidnapped expatriates were released on 31st August, 2022.
“3. OTARU operated terrorist cells in and around Kogi State. Similarly, he and his gang had staged several kidnap operations in Kogi and Ondo States. Meanwhile, the suspects are in custody and will be prosecuted accordingly.
“4. The Service reiterates its commitment to the safety of the nation. It assures to work assiduously with stakeholders including sister security agencies to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of criminality and threats to national security. It, therefore, calls on citizens to support it and other law enforcement organisations with relevant information and all the necessary cooperation required to achieve a peaceful country.”