The Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday paraded four suspected impostors in the failed ceasefire deal between the federal government and purported kingpins of the Boko Haram insurgent group.
While briefing journalists during the parade yesterday, DSS spokesman, Marilyn Ogar, disclosed that the fake Boko Haram members connived with the Australian self-styled hostage negotiator, Steven Davis, who spuriously fingered the former chief of army staff, Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, and former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff as financiers of the insurgent group.
Ogar revealed that the former Borno State governor was not yet off the hook and that Davis had not been indicted by the Service.
She, however, said the suspects were part of the orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, and undermine efforts of government to end terrorism.
Among the suspects was a special adviser to the incumbent Borno State governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Mr Junaid Idrissa Khadi, 45, who allegedly linked the other fake negotiators to Davis. Others are Abubakar Yussuf, Saleh Alhaji Ibrahim, Abdullahi Saleh, Nurudeen Ibrahim, Mubarak Adamu and Mustapha Maidugu.
Ogar said: “Recall that on August 29, 2014, one Steven Davis, an Australian self-styled negotiator for the Boko Haram sect, had alleged that Sen Ali-Modu Sheriff and former chief of army staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika were among chief sponsors of the Boko Haram sect.
“Davis premised his findings on discussions with several field commanders of the sect who allegedly expressed willingness of the sect to negotiate with the federal government if Davis would spearhead such dialogue. To buttress this, he posted a photograph of himself taken in 2013 with some of the alleged sect members.
“Based on the allegation, this Service initiated an in-depth investigation into the matter. Consequently, seven associates of Dvis were arrested and it has been established that they were part of a well-orchestrated plan to spread falsehood, undermine and discredit efforts of government to end terrorism,” Ogar said.
The DSS spokesman averred that Davis and the paraded suspects were part of local and international groups out to make merchandise of the Boko Haram insurgency through concocted and fabricated stories and said their campaigns were subversive and aimed at permeating and shaping political discourse as well as challenging the integrity of the nation’s security system.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction to the parade of Borno State governor’s aide, Khadi, a media associate of the governor, Isa Gusau, disclosed that Khadi was first appointed an adviser by former governor Sheriff in 2010 and was merely retained by Shettima on Sheriff’s request in 2011.
Gusau, who made a copy of his reaction available to LEADERSHIP, said Shettima’s office was concerned about the insinuation concerning the status of Khadi who was presented as an aide to the governor.
He said: “First, let it be noted that our clarification here is not intended to pronounce Khadi guilty of whatever reasons that led to his arrest. The clarification is simply to put the records in their proper perspective.
“Alhaji Junaid Idrissa Khadi was a Special Adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima following his appointment in 2013 on the insistence of Ex-Governor Ali Modu Sheriff who, at that time, had the listening ears of his successor, Governor Shettima. Khadi is known to be an associate of ex-Governor Ali Modu Sheriff.
“It was Sheriff as Governor of Borno State that first appointed Khadi in 2010 as one of his special advisers without known designation given the fact that most advisers under Sheriff as governor had no clear jurisdiction. When Shettima succeeded Sheriff as governor in 2011, he appointed his advisers without Khadi. Sheriff persistently requested that Shettima appoint Khadi as an adviser in charge of Religious Affairs which Shettima later accepted in 2013, two years after other advisers were already in office.
“Khadi, as everyone can attest to, remained closer to Sheriff before he was sacked by Shettima four months ago when Governor Shettima dissolved his cabinet.
“It is important to note that Governor Shettima never found Khadi with any questionable character at the time he was appointed. If at all Khadi had any questionable character, such can only be best known by those he first associated with before Shettima became a Governor in 2011 or perhaps, those that persistently recommended him to Shettima for reappointment.
“The governor expects that anyone found guilty of committing any crime that goes against the provisions of the Nigerian constitution and other existing laws be made to face the full wrath of the law after a competent court pronounces him guilty with no iota of doubt,” Gusau stated.
Marilyn Ogar affirmed that the DSS would bring to justice all sponsors and partakers in the publication of subversive reports against the country
Taliban massacres 132 children, 9 others in Pakistan school attack
At least 142 people, including 132 children, were killed yesterday in a horrific attack by Pakistani Taliban fighters (TTP) on a military-run school in Peshawar, in Pakistan’s northwest.
Several explosions and gunfire rang out as six armed men attacked the Army Public School yesterday morning, in one the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan’s history. Ten staff members of the school were also killed and more than 120 students were wounded.
Officials told journalists that all seven terrorists were killed in the operation.
Reports from Peshawar revealed that most of the younger pupils escaped the school, but the senior students were not so lucky.
The deadly attack triggered shock and outrage across the world. Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, described it as a “national tragedy” and those as “my children”.
Shell-shocked survivors described the attack as nothing short of mayhem. The attackers came dressed in paramilitary uniforms.
One survivor, Shahrukh Khan, 16, who was shot in both legs, said he managed to survive after playing dead.
“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” Khan said from the trauma ward at the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar.
The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Muhammad Khorasani, TTP spokesperson, told reporters the suicide bombers had been given orders to allow the youngest students to leave but to kill the rest.
The attack was in retaliation for an ongoing Pakistan Army operation against the TTP and its allies in the North Waziristan tribal area, Khorasani said, adding that many of their family members had been killed in the campaign.
“Many TTP members have lost their family members and they have said they want to inflict pain,” Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said.
“But many ordinary people put their children in military schools because of the relatively higher standard of education, so normal people have been hit as well by this.”
Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said all the attackers wore suicide vests and carried rations to last for days. He, however, said the gunmen opened fire indiscriminately and it did not seem they were planning to take hostages.
The Army Public School had about 1,100 students and teachers present when the attack started, military officials said. The attack began at about 10:30am local time (05:00 GMT).
A heavy contingent of security forces arrived at the school shortly after the attack began and launched the rescue operation.
The army said in a statement that many hostages had been evacuated but did not say how many.
The Pakistani military began ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’ against the TTP and its allies on June 15, and said it had so far retaken large areas of territory from the group, killing more than 1,270.
The army is also carrying out a military operation in Khyber Agency, which borders Peshawar, where it said it had killed at least 179 fighters.
Malala condemn attack on children
World youngest Nobel Peace Laureate winner, Malala Yousafzai has condemned Taliban’s attack on a school in Pakistan as a “senseless and cold-blooded act of terror”.
The 17-year-old, who now lives in Birmingham, survived being shot in the head by Islamist
militants from the group in 2012 for her campaigning for girls’ education.
She said the Taliban’s attempt to intimidate their enemies around the world were futile, saying “we
will never be defeated”.
At least 141 children, teachers and soldiers have been confirmed dead in today’s attack at the Army
Public School in the city of Peshawar.
Malala said: “I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is
unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.”
Bomb misses militants, kills 20 Yemeni schoolchildren
Two car bombs killed at least 31 people, including 20 children, in central Yemen’s Radaa city when suspected al Qaeda fighters targeted Houthi militants yesterday, senior security officials and locals told CNN.
One car bomb struck a Houthi gathering point, but the other did not make it to the target and instead blew up next to a bus that was carrying children home from school, officials said.
All the killed children were under the age of 12, said Osama Sari, a prominent pro-Houthi activist. Eleven Houthi fighters were killed, an Interior Ministry official said.
Eyewitnesses told CNN that the death toll within Houthi lines exceeded 18 while a dozen others were injured, among them six in critical condition, medical sources in Radaa told CNN.
Radaa was an al Qaeda stronghold that fell to Houthi fighters after clashes in October that killed hundreds from both sides. Al Qaeda has since intensified its attacks on Houthi targets, conducting daily attacks, killing hundreds of Houthis and innocent civilians.
Houthis follow the Zaidi sect of Islam and are considered Shiite Muslims by al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim terrorist network.
Sari said most of the killed were children and that the attack holds the hallmarks of al Qaeda.
“The suicide car bombs were supposed to directly hit the Houthi camp. When they failed to reach the core target, many innocent children lost their lives,” Sari said.[Leadership]