Muhammed “Hamza” Aliyu, the alleged commander of a cell of the Nigerian extremist Boko Haram sect, has been arrested in Kano after a bloody shootout with the police.
The shootout, Premium Times learnt, led to the death of three policemen and four members of the sect.
The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Idris, told newsmen that the clash took place on Saturday night at Darmunawa Quarters in Kano city, where the sect leader lives. Mr. Idris said that the leader, sensing that his house was under surveillance by the police, invited his members to attack the police leading to the gun battle.
Fourteen other members of the sect were also arrested alongside their leader. Mr. Idris said two of the three policemen who died were among those on surveillance in the area, while the other one was part of the reinforcement team.
The police chief also said members of the public pursued and arrested some members of the sect who were trying to flee while Mr Aliyu, the leader was arrested at a checkpoint in the city.
The police said they found rifles in his car that had been stolen from the police in Yobe and Kaduna States. Bomb-making materials were also found in his house, the police said.
Mr. Idris expressed gratitude to the members of the public for their cooperation and support which led to the success of the operation, as preliminary investigation shows that the sect members arrested were neither local residents nor Hausa natives.
The police displayed seven riffles, including four AK 47, 1,125 ammunition, and nine magazines, which were impounded during raids of some suspected hideouts of the sect in the city.
Other items recovered from the suspects include 19 bags of ammonium chemical, one bag of iron scraps, twenty bags of unnamed bomb-making substance, international passports, one 25-litre can containing chemicals, and two assembled bombs.
Last Thursday, an Airforce secondary school in Kano was attacked in which three officers were killed and the Boko Haram sect was fingered.
The spokesman of the group, Abul Qaqa, however told reporters via text messages on Sunday that the group was not behind the school attack, but that it was involved in the shootout in Kano.