Gen. Owoye Azazi, National Security
Adviser
By Ike Abonyi with agency report
Security has been beefed up around
Kabiru Abubakar Dikko, alias Kabiru
Sokoto, a Boko Haram chief suspected of
masterminding the Christmas Day
bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic
Church, Madalla, Niger State, who was
re-arrested on Friday.
THISDAY gathered yesterday that access
has been restricted to the suspect, who
was re-arrested in Mutum-Biyu, Taraba
State, after he escaped while a team of
policemen was taking him to his Abaji
home in the Federal Capital Terri-tory for
a search to be conducted on it.
Sources said information about where he
is being detained and those guarding
him is restricted because of fear that the
suspect, who masterminded the
bombing that killed over 45 people last
Christmas, could be a target of
assassination by Boko Haram in a bid to
prevent him from revealing all he knows
about the terrorist group’s operations.
Besides, security agents are anxious
about his safety following fears that Boko
Haram sympathisers in security circle
and in government may want to take
steps to prevent him from revealing
those suspected to have facilitated his
escape last month, for which a
commissioner of police, Zakari Biu, is
being detained.
The fear for Sokoto’s safety came just as
National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye
Azazi, warned that Boko Haram have
links in government and could extend its
attacks to previously safe parts of the
country.
Sokoto is the second high-ranking Boko
Haram chief in custody after the arrest
of the group’s spokesman, Abul Qaqa, in
Kaduna.
Sources also said a crack team of
intelligence experts has been raised to
grill the suspect with a view to getting to
the root of Boko Haram activities and
their sponsors.
THISDAY learnt that the arrest of Sokoto
is halting the proposed arraignment of
Biu because the prosecution would need
to update the charge to be preferred
against him based on the outcome of the
interrogation of the suspect.
Azazi, in an interview with Financial
Times, published in the Friday’s edition
of the newspaper, also said it would be
difficult to engage Boko Haram in
dialogue because of its peculiar style of
organisation.
The presidential security adviser who
spoke against the background of the
deadly attacks by the group on Kano and
Kaduna, said: “When I speak to
governors, I say it possible (for the
attacks) to happen anywhere. These
people (militants) wear shirts and
trousers. They don’t have marks on their
heads saying Boko Haram. They look and
sound like everybody. It tells you that we
have them among us.”
He said security forces had recovered
training manuals written in Arabic,
training videos, and “martyr videos”
recorded by Boko Haram suicide
bombers.
“I watched videos of their weapons
training, which is very professional. They
are also innovative in making IEDS
(improvised explosive devices). I want to
believe very strongly that there is
outside assistance. We are thinking of al-
Qaeda in the Maghreb,” he added.
According to him, the militants easily
slipped across the porous borders with
Niger, Chad and Cameroon, adding that
it is taking time for security forces to
master counter terror tactics.
“Crimes we were used to are armed
robbery and car snatching. But Boko
Haram has suicide bombers with
explosives,” he said.
He expressed concern over the January
20 attacks on Kano in which about 200
people died, saying “The attack was a
big shock and a setback for us. Our
feeling was … people did not expect a
city like that to be attacked. If they can
come to a place like Kano that is neutral
and cause mayhem in a predominantly
Muslim city ... that woke people up.”
On the call for dialogue with the