Despite State of Emergency, car snatching thrives in Maiduguri

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents

A vehicle belonging to the Red Cross was nearly snatched Monday.

Despite the State of Emergency declared in Borno State, gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram, have defied the heavy security presence in Maiduguri, to snatch cars from unsuspecting motorists.

In the past one week, about five posh cars have been snatched from owners in broad daylight, residents have said.

The latest incident happened on Monday when three gunmen driving a Volkswagen Golf car attempted to snatch a sub-urban vehicle belonging to the Nigerian Red Cross at a filling station.

According to a witness, the Red Cross vehicle was saved by an inbuilt security device that caused the car to come to a stop after the snatchers had moved about 600 meters.

“They were three in number that came to the filling station and parked watching the two red cross vehicles taking fuel at Metro Filling station along Baga Road,” said a witness called Adamu Shafiu.

“When the first Red Cross “jeep” took fuel and left, two of the young men, about 18-years-old, came out with guns and asked everyone to lie down. One asked for the keys to the second Red Cross jeep, which the driver handed over to them. They entered the vehicle and drove off towards Bolori, while the Golf car followed them.

“After they had driven for some 600 meters, the car stopped. They tried starting the car but it seemed to have anti-theft security device installed on it. They had to abandon the Red Cross jeep and escaped in the Golf car.”

The spokesman of the Red Cross, Nwakpa Nwakpa, said he had not been briefed on the incident and would contact the officials in Maiduguri for details.

Security sources told PREMIUM TIMES that gunmen, believed to be Boko Haram members, have snatched over 500 cars between January and May this year.

“The cars were to be used in organising massive attack on Maiduguri and surrounding cities in June to commemorate the June 2009 killing of their spiritual leader and hundreds of their members,” said a security source who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on anonymity.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday last week declared a State of Emergency in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States, to check the activities of the Boko Haram and other criminal groups in the states.

Several insurgents have been killed since the declaration with scores of other arrested. The military said it is succeeding in its task to rid the states of the criminals.


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