Mastermind of Nyanya Blast Arrested

Aminu Ogwuche

Abubakar Ogwuche, one of the masterminds of the Nyanya bomb blast has been arrested in Sudan by the international police after being unmasked at a press conference held by the Department of State Security

|  By Vincent Nzemeke  |  May 26, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

FOUR weeks after an early morning bomb blast in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, in which more than 70 people were killed and several others injured, there are strong indications that perpetuators of the crime would soon be brought to book. On Wednesday, May 14, the international police (Interpol), said it had arrested Abubakar Sadiq Ogwuche, one of the masterminds of the dastardly attack, in Sudan. His father, Agene Ogwuche, a retired colonel, was also arrested on Thursday in Nigeria.

At his daily briefing at the National Information Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, May 14, Mike Omeri, director-general of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, announced that Ogwuche had been arrested in Sudan and was awaiting extradition back home to face charges. He said that the arrest was through the collaborative efforts of Interpol, State Security Service, SSS, Nigeria Police and the Military Attach← to the Nigerian High Commission in Sudan.

The federal government had, through the DSS on Monday, May 11,  placed the  sum of N25 million on the head of Ogwuche and Rufai Abubakar Tsiga, a Boko Haram leader, the main mastermind. This led to the issuance of an  international warrant of arrest on Ogwuche, who was reported to be hiding in Sudan. Speaking to the press on Monday, Marylyn Ogar, its spokesperson,paraded five suspects who were allegedly found to have been connected with the incident. They included Ahmad Abubakar, aka Abu Ibrahim/Mai Turare; Mohammed Ishaq; Yau Saidu, aka Kotar Rama; Anas Isah and Adamu Yusuf. They all were said to have confessed to being privy to the Nyanya bomb blast.

According to Ogar, the bombing was masterminded by Tsiga and Ogwuche, who hatched and carried out the bombing of the busy transport terminal. The SSS said it was Tisga and Muhammadu Sani Ishaq, who moved the explosive-laden vehicle to Nyanya bus station on the night of April 13, while Tsiga personally drove the vehicle to the actual position in which he detonated the bomb the following morning.

At the time of the press briefing, the duo of Tsiga and Ogwuche, described as the brain behind the bombing, were still at large.

Further information released by the SSS revealed that Ogwuche hails from Orokam, Ogbadibo council of Benue State. Until his arrest, Ogwuche was a student of Arabic Language at the International University of Africa, Sudan. He was born in Britain from where he returned to Nigeria and served in the intelligence unit of the Nigerian Army between 2001 and 2006 before he deserted. He was allegedly involved in terrorist activities, leading to his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on arrival from Britain on November 12, 2011. However, he was released on bail to his father on October 15, 2012, following intense pressure from human rights activists who alleged violation of his rights.

A week after the blast, a joint security team arrested Abubakar at Gwantu, Sanga Local Government Area of Katsina State. In his statement, the 43 year- old Abubakar, who hails from Yarimawa in Kazaure council of Jigawa State, confessed to security agents that shortly after the blast in Nyanya, Tsiga told him that he and other Boko Haram members had bombed Nyanya in retaliation for the killing of a sect member eight days earlier.

It was, however, discovered that the alleged killing of a Boko Haram member had never taken place but was merely bandied about to elicit the sympathy of the sect members. According to Abubakar, Tsiga also told him that Boko Haram national leader had directed all members of the sect to relocate with their families to ‘Gaaba’, a Boko Haram forest camp, in preparation for mass attacks against the country.

Ishaq, another suspect, was arrested on April 24, at Utako Village, behind Julius Berger Yard, near Abuja, following the disclosure made by Abubakar. Ishaq, 30, an indigene of Balari village in Ajingi council of Kano State. He was a sales boy in Tsiga’s patent medicine store called Kishi Clinic. The structure located at Utako, also served as a base for the sect. His statement revealed that two days before the Nyanya blast, Tsiga, his boss, informed him around 4p.m. after prayers that there was a plan to bomb a facility in Abuja, but that he was not informed of the exact place. He further revealed that Tsiga later informed him that the bombs to be used for the blast were being coupled at the residence of one Adamu Yusuf.

According to Ishaq, a day before the Nyanya bombing, he and Tsiga drove the car laden with explosives and parked it behind four buses inside the Nyanya park overnight, after which they left the area, which Tsiga detonated the following day. According to him, two cars were wired for the attack. He claimed that one was used for the April 14 incident, which was a retaliatory attack over the lynching of a member of the sect  a week earlier at the Nyanya park because he was caught with firearms.

Saidu, alias Kotar Rama, was arrested on April 29 at his village, Dandambo, Tsanyawa council of Kano State. Before his arrest, Saidu was an apprentice under Tsiga at his medicine store in Utako village market. Although he denied membership of the sect, he claimed that his uncle, Tsiga and Ishaq attempted to enlist him several times. He identified the perpetrators of the Nyanya bomb blast as Tsiga, Ishaq and Ogwuche. He also disclosed that on April 13, at 11a.m., a day before the Nyanya bombing, Tsiga and Ishaq drove out from Utako village market in a “black coloured Honda Accord” car and returned about four hours later.

Later on the same day, they went out again in the same car and did not return until the following day, April 14, at 11a.m., after the Nyanya bombing incident had occurred. He alleged that when Tsiga learnt of Ishaq’s arrest, he fled Utako to an unknown location and left the Kishi Clinic business in his care.

Responding to a question, Ogar said, “We should be happy that wherever a criminal is hiding, he will be fished out. Even if Nigerians would hide him, others will fish him out. These terrorists live in our midst and we know them. The world is a small place now.”

Although security officials appear to be making progress in unravelling those behind the blast, life has not been the same for many survivors of the blast. Findings have revealed that about 56 of those injured in the blast are still in hospitals receiving treatment for various degrees of injuries.

Tayo Haastrup, a medical doctor at the National Hospital in Abuja, said in an interview that many of the victims were responding well to treatment.  “They are about 23 in all, They are fine and responding to treatment very well.”

According to Badiru Yakassai, head of the public relations unit, health and human services secretariat of the federal capital territory, FCT, there are six victims at Maitama General Hospital, while an unnamed hospital in Gwarinpa has three victims. The Wuse General Hospital has five victims while the Asokoro General Hospital has 19 victims. “They are improving and doing very well, that is why the number is reducing and many of them are being discharged,” Yakassai said.

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