- As military denies bombing civilians in Borno air strike
By Tobias Lengnam
The Nigeria Police Special Tactical Squad (STS) has smashed a two-man car stealing gang led by one Bashir Isiaku, aged 34, notorious for stealing cars from the car park of the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH).
This is according to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, DCP Frank Mba yesterday.
The statement said the arrest of Bashir, a graduate of one of the Federal Polytechnics, came after painstaking efforts and investigations by operatives of the STS to hunt down the criminals. Bashir and his accomplice, Aminu Yakubu specialized in using customized master key, crafted out of screwdriver to open and start vehicles. Police investigations show that their choices of cars are ones without special security features such as pedal or steering locks. A total of twenty-one (21) vehicles have so far been recovered from the hoodlums and their criminal receivers.
The following criminal receivers have also been arrested: in Funtua – Rilwanu Garba, Ibrahim Hassan, Kabiru Aliyu, Sikiru Danjuma, Bashir Abba; in Sokoto – Dodo Danbello, Mudeen Adelera, Nasiru Bello, Hassan Bawa; in Kucheri – Magazine Garba; in Tsafe – Yushehu Abdullahi; in Gusau – Abdurazaq Adekoya; and in Marafa – Kabiru Aliyu, the statement said.
The recovered vehicles comprise 2 Opel Vectra, 1 Toyota Camry, 1 Honda CRV, 2 Toyota Carinae, 7 Golf-3, 1 Toyota Corolla, 6 Honda Civic and 1 Toyota Avensis. The suspects claimed that they found it easy to steal in JUTH due to the lax security at JUTH premises. Police investigations reveal that their choice cars are Toyota products, Honda products, and Volkswagen especially the Golf brand because these brand of cars are in high demand by criminal receivers, either in whole or in parts across the country and other neighboring countries.
“In the light of the above, members of the public whose cars were stolen between January 2019 and March 2020, within the premises of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) are advised to come forward for possible identification and recovery. Nigerians are equally enjoined to take extra measures to secure their cars by utilizing special security features such as steering or pedal locks, tracking systems, etc. In the same vein, institutions and organizations are encouraged to enhance security and access control within their premises to minimize the possibility of theft and other mischief by criminals.
“Similarly, a 28 year old female armourer, Fatima Garba has been arrested alongside her gang of kidnappers and armed robbers, notorious for attacking innocent Nigerians around Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna and Niger States. As an armourer, Fatima was responsible for ensuring the safety of the weapons used by the gang whenever not in use. Fatima, who confessed of being the gang’s armourer for over a year, claimed to receive a handsome reward each time the weapons were returned to her after each operation. She acknowledged knowing that the arms which she usually kept in a neatly dug hole in her compound were used for robberies, kidnapping and other criminal purposes. Investigations show that Fatima, who is a trader and single mother of two was recruited by her boyfriend Abubakar Usman. Other members of the gang include: Samaila Usman ‘m’ aged 28, Mohammed Ibrahim ‘m’ aged 30, Mohammed Agali ‘m’ aged 22, Dahiru Bello ‘m’ aged 33, Shamsu Mohammed ‘m’ aged 30, Mohammed Usman ‘m’ aged 37, Umar Abdullahi ‘m’ 33, Buhari Abubakar ‘m’ aged 33 and Abubakar Garba ‘m’ aged 37. Since they began operations, the gang is estimated to have made over twelve million naira from their various criminal escapades.”
The statement listed the items recovered from the gang as including the dollowingare: 5 AK47 rifles,1 G3 rifle,1 Berretta pistol, 1476 rounds of ammunition, 36 rounds of G3 ammunition, 6 AK47 magazines, 1 operational vehicle, 8 mobile phones and Box containing operational tools.
All the suspects will be charged to court at the conclusion of investigations, the police said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Military yesterday debunked reports that air strikes conducted by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole, at Shokotoko Village in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State killed civilians.
The military in a statement issued yesterday by Major General, John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, clarified that the operation, which was conducted on the night of 9 April and early hours of 10 April 2020, was based on credible intelligence reports, obtained from land forces and other security agencies as well as reliable, vetted informants, which confirmed that the target location was occupied solely by Boko Haram Terrorists.
“Moreover, as customary, the attack helicopter that executed the mission was accompanied by an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to ensure proper targeting for avoidance of collateral damage. Besides, it must be noted that, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots, by training and in line with extant Rules of Engagement (ROEs) for the operation, do not attack any location if it is observed that non-combatants, especially women and children, are present. In such cases, the pilots would rather return to Base with their munitions unexpended. Consequently, on the strength of the foregoing, the location was considered a legitimate target.
“Nevertheless, to allay public concerns occasioned by the aforementioned media reports, an investigation is being carried out and subsequent actions will be taken in line with extant regulations and best practices, while remaining accountable to the Nigerian people.
“We wish to reassure the general public that the AFN, in keeping with its professional responsibility, will continue to work assiduously to rid the North East of all terrorist elements with a view to facilitating a return to normalcy that would enable Nigerians in the area pursue their legitimate aspirations.”