Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas bombing: Outrage over prime suspect’s escape

18 January 2012

There was outrage on Tuesday over the escape of a Boko Haram suspect, Kabir Sokoto, from police custody.

Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing of Saint Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, at Abaji, escaped from Abaji, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory. Forty-three people died in the incident while 50 others sustained injuries.

Arrested at the Borno State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, on Saturday, Sokoto was said to have escaped while being taken for a search of his apartment on Monday.

Sokoto, who was arrested alongside a serving military officer, was said to have been tracked to Abuja by security agents after several weeks of investigation. Investigations had linked the suspect to two sons of a powerful Northern traditional ruler said to be close to the corridors of power.

Sokoto was said to have travelled from Maiduguri, Borno State, to Abuja on his way to London but decided to stay overnight at the Borno State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja.

How the suspect escaped

The Force Headquarters said the commissioner in charge of the investigation, Zakari Biu, had been suspended for negligence, adding that he might be prosecuted if a criminal case was established against him and his team.

The CP was said to have ordered five policemen to accompany the suspect, but the officers were reportedly attacked and overwhelmed by suspected Boko Haram members.

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olusola Amore, in Abuja, explained that Sokoto was handed over to Biu for further investigation and he consequently detailed his men to take the suspect to Abaji.

In the course of the further investigation, according to him, the escorts were attacked by suspected sect members and the suspect escaped.

‘Escape orchestrated’

In its reaction, the Borno State Government demanded a probe into the escape. Commissioner of Information in the state, Mr. Inuwa Bwala, told one of our correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday that the whole “arrest and escape saga” appeared orchestrated to cast the state government in a bad light.

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