The Department of State Service (DSS) has confirmed the arrest of the mastermind of the car bomb explosion in Kogi State last week.
There was a commotion in Kogi on December 29, 2022, when an explosion occurred near the palace of Ohinoyi of Ebiraland.
The event stirred tension in the state as it happened minutes before President Muhammadu Buhari’s arrival in the state. The Nigerian leader was scheduled to commission a project by Governor Yahaya Bello in the state the same day.
Naija News reports that at least four people died in the attack.
A statement, however, released on Wednesday by the Public Relations Officer, DSS National Headquarters, Peter Afunanya, said the service had arrested one Abdulmumin Otaru, aka Abu Mikdad, and one of his associates, Saidu Suleiman, who are masterminds of the explosion.
According to Afunanya, Otaru sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape arrest, adding that he is receiving treatment at an undisclosed health facility.
The statement read, “The Department of State Services wishes to inform the public that it has arrested the mastermind of the Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device attack which occurred on December 29, 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 January 3, 2023. Otaru sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape. He is currently receiving treatment at a health facility.”
Naija News reports that the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) had earlier released a statement claiming responsibility for the explosion in Kogi State.
The Islamic State-backed faction of Boko Haram said the explosion was targeted at President Buhari, who was expected in the area that day.
The statement released by DSS on Wednesday affirmed the terrorist group’s claim as investigations conducted by the service revealed that Otaru is an ISWAP commander and had links with deadly attacks in the state as well as the Kuje custodial centre invasion.
The secret police statement reads further: “During investigations, it was ascertained that Otaru was a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province and either coordinated or was involved in the following dastardly operations:
“i. 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 AK-47 rifles were carted away in that attack;
“ii. 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 in Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi in which three Indian expatriates were kidnapped. It would be recalled that five persons including one Indian, two Policemen, and two drivers of the company were also killed in the attack. The kidnapped expatriates were released on 31st August 2022.
“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,” the statement added.
He, however, said the service was working assiduously with stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of criminality and threats to national security.