by Rachel Ogbu
About 100 soldiers including men of the State Security Service were said to have raided a terrorist hideout in Ijora, Lagos yesterday.
Residents were alarmed when uniformed men in their numbers arrived the area at about 7am in search of suspected members of Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.
They military men proceeded to 24 Aromire Street and three others at a location in an adjacent street arresting two people in the process.
According to reports, one of the suspects, Ibrahim Musa, occupied five rooms in one of the buildings. They discovered a bomb in a cooler and another hidden inside the ceiling of one of the rooms where Musa stayed. They also found AK-47 rifles, cartridges and daggers.
Musa reportedly the leader of the gang was described as an illegal immigrant from Chad.
Residents were terrified by the invasion, one local who identified himself simply as Olu told reporters that until he saw the suspects arrested and led out, he didn’t know they were living there.
“When soldiers were taking them away, we wondered if they were living in the neighbourhood. It was my neighbour, who told me he had seen Musa once or twice,” he said.
Olu said the soldiers had warned the residents to be watchful because Boko Haram members had penetrated the area, particularly the Hausa settlement.
Lagos State Director, SSS, Achu Olayi, confirmed the raid but couldn’t go into details at yet.
Thursday raid of Ijora comes a month after the SSS discovered a terror network coordinated by Iranians in Lagos.
The Punch reports:
The security source, who craved anonymity, added the raid was as a result of an investigation which began a month ago.
He said, “Security agents got information a month ago that there was a terrorist hideout in the Seven-Up area of Ijora. Although we were not sure if they were Boko Haram members or not, we did not want to take any chances so we decided to go and raid the place.
“It was discovered that the place was being run by a Chadian and arms were recovered during the raid, including AK-47 riffles. Investigations are ongoing and those who are found not culpable will be released.”
Musa’s neighbour, who craved anonymity, told one of our correspondents that they did not suspect he was a member of Boko Haram.
He said the suspect moved into the house less than three months ago.
“Musa rented his apartment about three months ago. However, since he moved in with his wife, who recently had a baby and a brother, none of them had any known form of livelihood. Musa and his brother, particularly were always going about with their laptops and expensive phones.
“Though he (Musa) was not working, he was usually the first to pay for anything in the house. It was when the soldiers came that we got to know what they truly are. It was in the course of beating him (Musa) that he told the soldiers where he hid the bomb and guns.”
When one of our correspondents met the Ojora of Ijora , Oba Fatai Adeyinka, he said he was shocked that Boko Haram members had infiltrated the area.
The spokesman for the Army 81 Division, Colonel Kingsley Umoh, confirmed the raid but said the army had been carrying out constant raids across the state in response to the rising level of insecurity in the country.
Umoh said over 36 people had been arrested recently. He however said he had yet to receive the details of Thursday’s operation.
He said, “The Nigerian Army is carrying out a proactive approach. We are raiding every nook and cranny of the state in order to rid it of criminal elements. We are not ignorant of the insecurity in the country so we are carrying out preventive measures and we want to make sure that Lagos is safe for all its inhabitants.
“The raids have been in collaboration with sister agencies like the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the SSS, the police and others. It is the OP MESA of the army that is at the forefront of the raids and we have recorded many successes of late as we have also arrested some soldiers who were found wanting.
“I will not be able to brief you fully about Thursday’s raid.”