- Arrest 2 clerics, 5 others
- We can’t confirm – DHQ
By Mashe Umaru Gwamna, with agency report
Some military personnel yesterday raided the central mosque in Aba, the Abia state capital, and arrested the chief imam of the mosque, his deputy and a youth corps member, as well as four other Muslims of northern extraction, a report on Hausa service of the BBC has revealed.
The report, monitored from Abuja, said another group of 50 soldiers raided several shops owned by northerners in a cattle market located in Lokpanata town of the same state.
The Imam of the raided mosque, Malam Idris Bashir, according to leader of the northern Muslim residents of Aba, Alhaji Halidu Imam, was nabbed along with his deputy, Malam Bello Maijama’a, as well as the corps member who was not named, during the raid in the early hours of yesterday.
Alhaji Halidu said, “they (the soldiers) also went to the Onions Market (in Aba) and arrested Malam Ibrahim Bargi and Sani Jos.
From there, they proceeded to the Yam Market where they arrested Sarki Salisu and another person called Isa”.
The Hausa community leader in Aba stressed that: “We were also told that 50 soldiers went and raided a cattle market in a town called Lokpatana around 2am”.
Asked if those arrested had committed any offence, Alhaji Halidu said, “we don’t know, but these are people with whom we’ve lived for years together here”, stressing however, that the security operatives had during their raid on the Lokpatana cattle market picked up a security guard in whose possession two bags of fertilizer were found.
However, the military authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the arrests up to press time yesterday. When contacted last night on the alleged raids, the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, who requested for time to cross-check the report, called back to say he was unable to verify whether the reported raids were true.
It would be recalled that last month, 486 northern jobseekers, travelling within Abia state en route Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, were arrested by military personnel in Abia on the guise of suspected Boko Haram members. The suspects were reported to have been arrested on their way to Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital in a convoy of 35 buses on the grounds that they were going there in search of jobs.
Earlier in January this year, the police arrested and detained over 300 Jigawa state indigenes over allegations that they were suspected Boko Haram members. The people, who were later discovered to be jobseekers, were however released thereafter.