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Police Close Abuja Markets Over Boko Haram Threat

Police Close Abuja Markets Over Boko Haram Threat
Inspector-General of police, Mohammed Abubakar

Three major markets in Abuja were on Tuesday shut by the police following intelligence reports that they might be bombed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists.

This occurred as news filtered in that insurgents struck again in two villages near Chibok, the community in Borno State, where over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped on April 14.

The markets in Wuse, Utako and Garki were combed with electronic scanners for almost three hours by policemen. But they found nothing suspicious.

Our correspondents gathered that the policemen, on learning that terrorists planned to plant Improvised Explosive Devices in the markets, promptly responded by closing them for proper security checks.

One of our correspondents, who visited the Garki market was told by private security guards on duty that nothing suspicious was found there.

The guards explained that the policemen came early on Tuesday morning and prevented the stall owners from entering until they had carried out a thorough search.

The Secretary, Garki Modern Market Association, Abubakar Moriti, said he was informed by the assocation’s chairman that the market would not open on time because there would be a security check.

He said, “My Chairman called me around 6.25am that the market would not be opened on time because there was a report that Boko Haram members were planning to bomb Abuja markets.

“When I got to the market around 7am, I found some people at the gate who asked me why the market was not opened and I explained to them. The market was eventually opened around 9am.”

When contacted, the Federal Capital Territory Police Public Relations Officer, Altine Daniel, described the closure of the markets as a routine security check.

Daniel said, “It was a routine security check carried out by sweeping the markets by our men to safeguard the people. No bomb scare anywhere in Abuja.”

Also speaking on the development on Focus Nigeria, an African Independent Television programme, the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said every effort was being made to protect the citizenry from terror attacks.

He said, “Well every effort must be made. Like I mentioned earlier, no information would be ignored. We must be satisfied that the threat that led to such a search is no more there before we let go of it. The ultimate is the safety of everybody and where there is need to explain the consequence, we will.”

But in Borno State, the insurgents invaded Tohya and Wurojene on Monday evening, killing five people and setting houses ablaze.

Residents told journalists from Maiduguri on Tuesday, that the insurgents also stole bags of grains and livestock during the attack that lasted for over two hours.

One of them, who declined to give his name said, “The attackers fired at the people and many fled into the bush. There was confusion everywhere as the attackers also went about setting fire on houses.

“They carted away bags of grains and livestock belonging to our poor people during the more than two hours that they operated.

“Most of us slept in the bushes throughout the night. The gunmen left after the killing and destruction without any resistance from the military in the area.”

But a security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the troops stationed around the area were not alerted on time.

Source - The Punch

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