Soldiers raid Aba Central Mosque, arrest Imam, others

13 were arrested and accused of stockpiling guns.

Soldiers in Aba on Sunday carried out an early morning raid at Aba Central Mosque and the residence of some Muslims in the town and arrested the Chief Imam of the mosque, Idris Bashir; his deputy, Mohammed Hassan; and eleven others over suspicion of stockpiling guns and planning to manufacture bombs.

The Chief Imam informed PREMIUM TIMES over the telephone that the soldiers came to their area at about 2 a.m., where they arrested four persons at the mosque while he and the others were picked from their houses.

“They took us to the 144 Battalion Barracks at Asa where their commander informed us that we are being suspected of stockpiling guns and manufacturing bombs. However, after sometime, the officer said since nothing was found after their search of our houses, mosque and shops we should be released,” he said.

He also said only eleven of them were released.

“The other two, who are the Director and Principal of New Horizon Academy, are still with the military,” Mr. Bashir said.
He said the soldiers in their raid saw some bottles of chemicals at the science laboratory of the school and accused the school officials of using them to manufacture bombs.

Mr. Bashir said the bottles were used for practical studies for students of the school.

“The bottles were not hidden and were kept aside in the lab because there were only five students offering the subject and three of them are already married and the other two appear to lose interest in the subject, so the bottles are even empty,” he said.

The cleric said he was re-invited by the military for further interrogation at Ngwa High School, on Wednesday.

“They interrogated me and released me just before we broke our fast and told me that they may re-invite me again,” he said.

The Chief Imam said their major concern now was the fate of two of their colleagues who have been moved from Asa, where they were initially kept, to Ohafia.

“Right now we don’t know the state they are in, and these are innocent Nigerians struggling to live in the current prevailing circumstances. My appeal is for the military authorities to, please, carry out all their investigations thoroughly so that innocent persons will not suffer for just being Muslims,” he said.

Soldiers had last month arrested 486 northerners travelling through Abia State to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Many of them were eventually released after being detained for weeks, while the military said it was still investigating others.

The House of Representatives had on Tuesday rejected a motion that sought to investigate and put a stop to the series of arrests of northerners by soldiers in Abia State.

The motion which came under matter of urgent national importance and sponsored by Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano) suffered a setback when put to vote for consideration, Daily Trust reported on Wednesday.

The paper said when the deputy speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, who was presiding, put the question to a voice vote, only few voices were heard supporting it.

The mover of the motion, Mr. Suleiman told the paper that he was not happy with the way the motion was killed by his colleagues, saying it was a dangerous precedent they set for Nigeria.

“You cannot use the excuse of the insurgency to place a particular ethnic group, people or region on security spotlight. It is nonsensical and unacceptable,” he said. “This is a process that is capable of setting ethnic group against one another and where this is predominant is in the south-east. That is what I had wanted to read and as you know, the people that travelled a lot in this country are the south-easterners. If some people try to apply reprisal, it will be too bad for the country.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Olajide Laleye, said he was yet to get the full details of the operation. He said he would provide the details as soon as he got them.


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  • redeem

    Which ethnic group is he talking about//these people are illegal migrants from the west african sub region//and we have APC janjaweeds in the House doing all within their power to ensure that the janjaweeds they recruit from Sudan, Chad and Nigeri republic are given special protection while they bomb Nigerians to oblivion

    • abdullahi

      Have seen them? Why are u so selfish, I think it’s high time we call a spade a spade Mr redeemer or what ever you call yourself, southerners are in North and we will treat them same way. Idiot.

    • elbabsy

      In other word you support the unlawful arrest of innocent citizens? Come on my lovely brother we must not allow religion or ethnicity to veil our duty as Nigerian. If the Norther governors order such to be done to the Xtain will you be happy? Muslim are now been tagged as suspects just because they profess the islamic faith. It is repugnat to natural justice equity and the morals of this nation, hence such acts must be condemed nd stopped.

      • John Matthew

        A suspect can be arrested, tried or released. So shut up and stop ranting nonsense like a fool.

      • emmanuel

        Thirty three buses travelling at the same time? Common.

        I am sure they were meant to attack an Army barracks in Port Harcourt.

        The problem with you Hausa Fulani Mislims is that you are very deceitful and support all kinds of evil from your people.

        How many times have you engaged in that kind of mass movement before?

        If South South people engage in such mass movement to the North, they should be detained, because even in places like the USA, the FBI must accost them, so atop your cheap blackmail

        • Lad

          LOL! The ignorance.

        • Jika

          You are sure they were meant to attack an Army barracks in Portharcourt .Really?How many arms/ammunition meant for that ‘attack’ was discovered from them?Why were some of them released unconditionally?How come the identity of the alleged Boko Haram King pin amongst them was not released?There are so many questions begging for answers.You are entitled to your opinion regarding the sweeping statement of Hausa/Fulani Muslims as deceitful.But,guess what,an uninformed Hausa/Fulani Muslim may also have the same opinion about your ethnic group/religion whatever that is.Let us look at issues dispassionately and proffer constructive ideas instead of pandering to religious/ethnic hatred.God bless.

      • Lester Copperpot

        They’re only being investigated/interogated so relax.They will all be released eventually.
        Also have it in mind that the easterners have experienced hell in the hands of notherners and nigeria as a whole so if they overreact concerning their security,especially in this period of bokoharam,I don’t blame them one bit.

      • Rosemary O

        They were not innocent at the point of arrest but suspects. They were arrested based on information. Allow the military to do their work. 11 out of 13 were released. There must be a reason for keeping the remaining 2 behind nd even moving them from one zone to another.

    • Kola Adekola

      Keep exposing your stupidity.

  • funcy

    nigeria have lost their security ideologies, may God save us and not looking into our shortcomings.

  • Better Life

    I wonder when they started doing practical in the mosque. These evil people should stay clear of South East. All of them are invaders and terrorists. They don’t pay tax, they are only there to kill but they should know that we watching what’s happening in the north,do they think we have forgotten the 1966 pogrom and the civil war?.

    • abey

      I believe u went to school and u know how to read and write,if u didn’t get it,let me explain further,those 2 remaining detainee are d director and principal of new horizon school,don’t read with ur nose,do d reading with ur eyes.

      • b

        Thank u my brother, that’s why they fail exams

    • b

      That proved that u don’t know what u are doing, the battles are in a school laboratory not in the mosque, that’s why u ppl always fail exams bc u don’t read questions properly, and if northerners can also start harassing southern ppl then what is going to happen, instead of u to pray for peace in this country but u are busy written rubbish, may be u never travelled that’s why. Nonsense.

      • Lester Copperpot

        We all pray for peace and by God’s grace,we will have peace soon.But talking about notherners harassing southerners,your memory isn’t so good my friend.
        These people have been killing southerners for years and nothing happened.Not even 1 arrest,nothing.A few get detained and the sky should fall down.hmmm!!

    • Mubarak

      If you do really remember the pogrom of 1966 and the resultant war, you would also remember what lead to them. Every thing in this life is about cause and effect, we are the shapers of our world.

    • ola

      You can not read and understand simple write up. Where does the writer said bottles inside mosque. He said inside laboratory.

  • Abdulkadir

    The world has portrayed Islam in bad light and the Nigerian government is following suit. No matter what you do to the religion of Allah, it will still prevail because it is holy. I heard some religionist sponsor their own to go to where Islam is practiced and learn it only to come back and teach it in distorted fashion so as to entice and mislead. This is sure the way of satan and it shall fail woefully inshaAllah.

    Islam has never accepted taking the life of a human as just except when it is just. (Kiling becomes just when someone deliberately take another person’s life or in a war situation when if you dont kill, you will be killed) and even when just, Islam always frowns at the act. The execution is done with a heavy heart. But when people claiming to be muslim celebrate killing, you wonder where they learn there religion. And as if that is not enough, they engage in rape, robbery, destruction of properties, and other dirty crimes. We cannot accept them as Muslims and they are not. May Allah guide us, Ameen.

  • Lannister

    We should be careful so that we don’t turn into rwanda. This is ethnic profiling. We should be careful. D fact that you are a muslim hausa/fulani doesn’t make you a terrorist. Pls let us have tolerance. M a southern western muslim and all my friends are ztians. I don’t have any religion prejudice whatsoever. Pls let us b careful so dt nigeria does nt go d way of d iraqis. M 100% against terrorist and they hv no place among us. The security people should be objective in their investigation.

    God bless nigeria. Not everything should be politicised.

  • Fido

    Hon Aminu Suleiman ur a true patriot for bringing up this mater to the floor , but unfortunately ur one in den of self serving individuals. My advice is that you should not relent in ur effort to getting the mater heard, we are behind u and most importantly God is with u.

  • Thecreed

    All these suspicions are as a result of the politicisation of every facet of our nationhood. A group of people travelled by road at night in a state where there’s no state of emergency, they were all arrested and detained while over 200 innocent young girls were conveyed by road in a state under a state of emergency in the same country without the interception of our security men. I think something is happening that we are not being told, there’s more to all these that meets the eyes. May God help us.

  • Na so

    Abeg make we hear word. Do u think the army just went in there with out intelligence report? Probably the infor mation about their plans must have reached the army and they reacted. Or do u want to wait till u hear another incident then u’ll open ur dirty mouths to say the army are not doing their jobs?
    The easterners are not like those from the north. They are republicants, and every one has to protect their interest. If such happens in the north, the community will try to cover the blood thirsty bh, but i’m glad to see that they petty girl child snatchers will be exposed even b4 they attempt to commit any crime in the east. Now we are hearing that some prominent politicians have bin linked to the criminals. Lets see how it goes, but as for me, if the north cannot come together to stop this bombings in their place and expose the criminals, they should not try to extend it to the south becos they will wail as they have started failing and it will only make things difficult for them. We choose education and if u people dont like it, its ur loss

    • Jika

      They said no arms were found after the search in the houses and the Mosque.However,two empty bottles of used chemicals were found in a laboratory in a school.So much for intelligence gathering and acting on intelligence.While we are all duty bound to assist the security agencies in the onerous task of securing us,we should be cautious in applauding impunity where ever it happens.The truth about life is that what goes around always comes around.God bless.