The Synergy of Security Forces and Owo Church Attackers
By Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi
In June this year, a large number of terrorists invaded Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, where they killed many worshippers. Other members of the congregation sustained various degrees of injuries.
Immediately, Nigeria’s intelligence and security organizations swung into action, by launching an investigation to track down the criminal syndicates behind the attack.
Barely two months after, the unrelenting efforts of our security forces have started yielding positive outcomes as the perpetrators are now being arrested by the combined efforts of the intelligence community.
This achievement is credited to the collaborative efforts of the Military Intelligence Operatives under the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the men of Department of State Service (DSS), an agency responsible for collection of domestic intelligence.
At a parley, Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, had on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, announced the arrest of some gang members that attacked Catholic Church in Ondo. He disclosed this at the Defense Headquarters, Abuja at a parley with senior editors and media executives.
The parley, themed; “Building Strategic Military/Media Partnership for Restoration of Peace in Nigeria,” was organized by the Directorate of Defence Information in collaboration with The Media Today (TMT) International.
The CDS revealed that, through the collaborative efforts of military and DSS personnel, 4 amongst the terrorists who carried out the attack on the Owo Catholic Church were arrested at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on August 01, 2022. Those arrested included Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.
According to Irabor, preliminary investigation revealed that Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza was the mastermind of the terror attack on the Owo Catholic Church as well as the attack on a Police Station in Adavi LGA, Kogi State on 23 June 2022, during which a policeman was killed and weapons carted away.
The CDS also mentioned the arrest of another terrorist, Idris Ojo (32 years), who was apprehended at Ayetoro Osi, Ondo State through the combined effort of military and DSS personnel on 7 August 2022. Idris Ojo, the CDS said, was one of the suspected ISWAP terrorists who escaped from the Kuje Medium Correctional Centre during a jailbreak that happened on 5 July 2022.
However, Ojo was arrested alongside Jimoh Ibrahim (39 years), a sympathizer of the terrorist group, who accommodated him and possibly providing him with necessary logistics support.
As further revealed by the CDS, it is heartwarming to learn that, the arrest of Idris Ojo was crucial as he, along with others, were already planning terrorists’ attacks against some selected targets, in order to create fear amongst the citizenry aimed at discrediting the government and tarnishing her image before the eyes of the public.
On the other hand, while harping on the unfortunate terrorists’ attacks on Kaduna-Abuja Train Service, Owo Catholic Church, Kuje Medium Correctional Centre and the presidential advance convoy, the CDS assured the media chiefs that the military, Nigeria Police, DSS and other security agencies were collaborating in many fronts, working day and night to keep the country safe.
Specifically on the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, Irabor said that although some victims had been released, the military and other security agencies remained committed to ensuring safe rescue of the remaining victims in captivity.
Meanwhile, two additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the Owo church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022.
Major General Jimmy Akpo, Director Defence Information DDI, made this known to the public a day after the earlier announcement made by the CDS on the arrest of four terrorists who also participated in the attack.
He noted that the arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris. It was learnt that Abdulhaleem, alongside other high profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, Kogi State resulting in casualties.
This sustained synergy between the military and the DSS has been very crucial to the ensuring of national security and neutralizing of several emerging threats.
In its avowed mission to rid the nation of all forms of criminalities, the military had intensified both air and ground operations to deal with non-state actors in all parts of the country, and it is obvious that several successes had been recorded in recent times.
Recall that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) strikes had on August 06, 2022 eliminated a bandits’ warlord, Alhaji Abdulkarim (aka Bem Bem) alongside his fighters in Nigeria’s North Western region, Katsina State.
Therefore, the leadership of the military, Nigeria Police, DSS and other security agencies should continue to work in synergy in order to enthrone peace and security all over the country.
This is necessary as parts of the essential requirement to successfully deal with the existential asymmetric threats currently bedeviling our dear nation, Nigeria.
Mukhtar is a Staff Writer with the Emergency Digest.
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