Jaji military church bomb planner sold yams to spy on targets

Marilyn Ogar, ex-SSS spokesperson

The suspects, paraded on Friday, are to handed to military authorities

Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services, DSS, on Friday confirmed the arrest of two suspects in connection with last November’s bombing of a church in a military facility in Jaji, Kaduna State.

At least 15 people died in the blast that embarrassed the military after cars laden with explosive materials were driven into the Saint Andrew Protestant Military Church on November 27 as worshippers were leaving.

The DSS said the arrested suspects gave the names of the two suicide bombers as Tasiu and Lawal.

Spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, said the arrests were made after “thorough” investigations in collaboration with the military. The suspects are to be handed to the military.

The arrested suspects, who were paraded before journalists, are 18-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed aka Alilulah; and Ibrahim Idris.

Mr. Mohammed, a yam seller, from Jalingo in Taraba State, said he was indoctrinated into the Boko Haram ideology by one late Bashiru Madalla in 2012 who trained him in the use of firearms and production of Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, the DSS said.

The service said the suspect confessed to conducting surveillance on potential strike targets under the cover of selling his wares.

After becoming a member in Taraba, the suspect was relocated to Kaduna by Lawal, who would later become the bomber of the church; and was given two-bed room flat in Rafin Guza area which served as the sect’s operational base.

“..The Toyota Matrix, one of the vehicles used in the Jaji attack was prepared by Mohammed and Lawal in his residence,” Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Service, said.

Ms. Ogar said Mohammed confessed to participating in several attacks in Kaduna, including a previous attack on St. Rita’s Catholic Church, Badarawa, and St. Andrews Church AFCSC, Jaji.

On the day the Jaji church was attacked, one of the suicide bombers, Lawal, reportedly volunteered to carry out the attack personally since no suitable person could be sourced for the assignment as the fatal hour approached.

Mr. Mohammed reportedly said he accompanied the two would-be bombers, both now dead, up to the gate and bade them farewell.

The suspect told newsmen he hailed from Ilobu village, Osun State, and that he dropped out of school at JSS111.

He said he initially loathed the activities of the sect, which culminated in the death of innocent people, but all that changed when he became a member.

Asked how much he was paid to participate in the Jaji bombing, he said he got no pay but an occasional N5, 000 feeding allowance.


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