Monday, 30 January 2012

New threats! Boko Haram: fear grips Sokoto •Over Islamist sect’s threat of attack

Fear gripped residents of Sokoto State yesterday when the news of possible attack by members of Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnati Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, broke in the metropolis.
It was alleged security agencies may have arrested some suspected Boko Haram members which fueled the anxiety.

The development came 24 hours after the Islamist sect distributed leaflets urging perseverance on the part of Kano Muslims community and unveiling new targets. The group attacked Kano metropolis on January 20, killing 185 people. It was the deadliest attack by the sect.
Daily Sun observed that Sokoto residents were seen discussing in hushed tones, the antecedents of the dreaded Islamist sect especially the recent Kano deadly attacks in spite of a similar warning earlier given by the group.

All contacts made by our correspondent to security chiefs in the state including the police spokesman, ASP Almustapha Sani, to confirm the alleged arrest of some of the group members were unsuccessful as none of them responded to either the text messages sent to their cell phones or calls made to them for possible comment.
Some residents who spoke on the condition of anonymity could not harbour their fears on the recent development, having described Sokoto as one of the most peaceful states in the federation.

“We are appealing to the authorities concerned to rise to this security challenges in order to secure freedom to lives and properties that every citizen deserved. We need a diplomatic solution on this latest development in the state, ” some residents said in their appeal to the government. They said that in the event that the threat continues to hold ground with no solution in sight, such a development could force them to leave the state.

Meanwhile, the Islamist sect on Saturday urged residents of the flashpoint city of Kano to “persevere” as the group attacks the security services, in leaflets distributed around the city. The content of the leaflets, distributed in four areas of the metropolis, could not be independently verified, but was described as a message from Abubakar Muhammad Shekau, the head of the group that killed at least 185 in the city on January 20. Boko Haram is aware of “the atmosphere of inconvenience our operations have thrown people into,” the leaflet said. The city has been hit by a series of unprecedented attacks in recent days, which have largely targetted the police.

“You should... persevere with the difficult situation the struggle for the entrenchment of an Islamic system puts you in and seek reward from God by supporting it.” The document also restated claims that the group, blamed for more than 200 deaths already this year, does not target civilians. “We have on several occasions explained the categories of people we attack and they include: government officials, government security agents, Christians loyal to CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and whoever collaborates in arresting or killing us even if he is a Muslim,” the document said.

The document further said that attempts to pacify the North through interfaith dialogue were an “apostacy.”
“Certainly the prophet lived with non-Muslims and entered into a pact with them but on specified terms, including the pledge that they would not desecrate our religion,” the leaflets read.

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