The State Security Service has arrested a graduate of English Literature from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Yasir Salihu, and six other Boko Haram members who allegedly assassinated a popular Islamic cleric, Sheik Adam Albani, his wife and son on February 1, 2014 at Gwagwaje area of Zaria, Kaduna State.
The cleric was murdered while returning from a religious event at Markaz Centre, Tudun Wada, Zaria, Kaduna State, on account of his anti-Boko Haram sermons and for allegedly threatening to expose the sect’s members to security agencies.
Other sect members that were arrested were, Yakub Abdullahi (a.k.a Alhaji Bala or Alhaji Kano Yakub Bulunkutu), Ibrahim Shuaibu (a.k.a Kawal Abu Amar), Bilyamin Usman, Sahabi Ismail, Umar Yasir and Musa Abubakar.
A member of the sect, Kabiru, was killed while attempting to snatch a weapon from a security operative in the course of his arrest.
The SSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, who paraded the suspects on Monday in Abuja, explained that Albani was killed for his pro-western posture and his preaching which were contrary to the Boko Haram ideology.
According to her, the hatred for Albani culminated in a meeting by members of the sect under the leadership of Abdullahi at Hayin Danmani in Rigasa area of Kaduna State, where Boko Haram’s decision-making organ, the Shura council, ordered the killing of the Islamic cleric.
Ogar stated that the sect members had attempted to kill Albani on January 23, 2014, but the plot failed as he was said to have travelled.
Ogar said, “Investigation and confessions by the suspects revealed that Albani’s pro-western posture and his preaching are contrary to the Boko Haram ideology.
“He was consequently placed on a surveillance and was tracked to Markaz Salafiya Centre by Boko Haram members and killed on February 1 where they waited for him till the end of his sermon, trailed and eventually killed him and his family, while other occupants of the vehicle sustained varying degrees of injuries.”
The SSS deputy director said that Abdullahi, 42, was the Kaduna/Niger states sub-regional commander of the sect, adding that he was actively involved in the 2009 insurrection in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Ogar stated that Abdullahi later fled to Kouseri town in Cameroon, from where he relocated to Kano State to organise fleeing members of the sect and coordinate their robbery attacks.
“He is the arrowhead of Sheik Albani’s killing, as he not only directed the assassination plot, but procured the two AK47 rifles used,” she said.
The SSS stated that investigation was ongoing to apprehend other sect members operating in Kaduna/Niger axis and to expose the sources of their weapons, adding that the suspects would soon be taken to court.
Salihu, 35, in an interview with journalists, admitted to being a member of the violent sect.
He confessed to taking part in the surveillance on Albani, before he was murdered.
The ABU graduate, who works as the Head of Records and Billing Department, Horizons Medical Centre, Wuse Zone 6, Abuja, said he joined the sect in 2009 when he attended a sermon by the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in Maiduguri.
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