Before Sunday’s advisory by US Embassy in Nigeria, security forces had been working hard to avert severe attacks on Abuja and its environs by terrorists loyal to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an investigation has revealed.
Credible security sources said many terrorists and their collaborators who have been mapping and strategising on how to launch multiple attacks to attract global attention had been arrested in Abuja and neighbouring communities.
The sources said the advisory issued by the US Embassy in Abuja on Sunday was to emphasise the obvious truth that terrorists and other criminal elements have established several cells, especially in the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
They said the terrorists were receiving “guidance” from their superiors living within and outside Nigeria on how to perfect “the massive onslaught on the symbol of authority” to prove that they were still strong and could attack anywhere.
It was learnt that their influx into Abuja was sequel to massive aerial reconnaissance and ground operations by Nigerian troops in the far northern Borno bordering Chad, Niger and Cameroon and the Alagarno and Sambosa forests in North East, as well as bombardments in forested areas in parts of Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states all in North West that led to the destruction of many cells and bonkers of the terrorists.
Some of sources said yesterday that some ISWAP commanders and foot soldiers have melted into the civilian population in and around Abuja perfecting plans to launch attacks about the same time.
The sources said most embassies in Nigeria were aware of this and therefore the announcement by the US Embassy might just be one of such advisories as others must have told their citizens quietly to be on the watch.
The US Embassy in Nigeria had warned Americans in the country to be cautious of their movement in response to what it called “elevated risk of terror attacks in Nigeria, specifically in Abuja.”
In the security alert issued on Sunday, the US advised its citizens to avoid all non-essential travels or movements, stay alert and avoid crowds.
“The advisory is true but we have been working on the issue for months, we have been arresting suspects and they are revealing a lot to us,” one of our sources, said.
“We have gone far in securing not only the FCT but Nigeria at large…The terrorists have no hiding place anymore because we are tracking and picking them.
“We know all their antics. Many of them are working as mechanics, tailors, carpenters, labourers and even experts in some fields…We know what is happening,” he said.
Kingpins picked around FCT
Daily Trust reports that about two weeks ago, two high-profile terrorists were located at the Tipper garage, along the Kubwa Express Road by Jahi District and security operatives put them on their radar.
And on Thursday, October 20, one Abubakar Dan Borno, an ISWAP kingpin who fled from the Sambisa Forest, was picked at Mararaba, a suburb of Abuja in Nasarawa State after days of trailing. The suspect was reportedly handed over to the military and taken to the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) for interrogation.
Military intelligence has shown that some of the terrorists targeting Abuja live in Kaduna, Kano and other north-western states and only come to Abuja from time to time to have face-to-face interaction with the foot soldiers they planted.
Sources said one Abubakar Musa, an ISWAP logistics facilitator, who was picked yesterday, was trailed and arrested at the Falgore village in Tudun Wada LGA of Kano State.
It was learnt that many others were being trailed and picked as part of efforts to break the circle working hard to wreak havoc on the FCT and other major towns across Nigeria.
“There are many reasons for the desperation by the terrorists,” another source told the Daily Trust last night.
“The first is to show the world that they are still strong and very much around even though this claim is questionable considering that they have been checkmated and many of their cells destroyed.
“Another source is to simply embarrass the government. You know that President Buhari has said that he will bequeath a safe country by May 2023. Governor El- Rufai also few days ago said they have recorded many days without attacks in Kaduna. These are good stories that those against the Nigerian State would not like to hear,” he said.