By Yusuf Alli
•Boko Haram demands release of detained woman •How sect’s faction betrayed Abu Mohammed group
SECURITY agents are battling to locate the whereabouts of a German, Edgar Fritz Raupach, who is believed to have been taken hostage by Boko Haram, the dreaded Islamic sect in whose custody two foreigners died three weeks ago.
Briton Christopher McManus and Italian Franco Lamolinara were killed by the Abu Mohammed faction of Boko Haram, which is believed to have links with al-Qaeda, the international terrorist group.
Raupach has been held hostage since January by the Abu Mohammed faction of Boko Haram, The Nation learnt.
The hostage takers appear to have the backing of Al-Qaeda, following the alleged arrest and detention of a Muslim woman, Oum Seif Allah Al Ansari, in Germany.
It was learnt that the al-Qaeda – backed Boko Haram faction is demanding immediate release of Oum Seif Allah Al Ansarim, who is being held in a prison, as a precondition for freeing the German hostage.
A source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, said: “The agencies are investigating the claim of al-Qaeda links with the kidnapped German in Kano and the swap demand for a detained woman, who is a Muslim, in Germany.
“Security agencies are working round the clock to free this German who was kidnapped in Kano.
“This is another challenge but with effective collaboration, we should be able to locate the whereabouts of the hostage.”
Another source said: “We are working on a tip-off that al-Qaeda had worked in collaboration with Abu Mohammed faction of Boko Haram to kidnap the German in Kano. Some clues are suggesting that the German might either be in Kano or somewhere in North Africa.
“But security agencies are not relenting in locating the German hostage either in Kano or elsewhere.”
It was also gathered at the weekend that a faction of Boko Haram provided intelligence for the arrest of the late Mohammed and others on March 7 in Zaria. The arrest provoked the killing of the two hostages in Mabera Estate, Sokoto.
According to sources, security agencies have established that Boko Haram was able to hold on to the murdered hostages for 10 months because of alleged sophisticated equipment and external backing from al-Qaeda and others.
A security source said: “The Abu Mohammed men appear well-trained, organised, with weapons and armoury that security agents are still unravelling their linkages.
“This sophistication of the faction, apparently aided externally, readily showed in their ability to keep the two hostages away from the extensive security hunt for 10 months. This gives a lie to the belief that the security agencies have acquired equipment that could track terrorists anywhere in Nigeria.
“Security experts say no Third World country, considering their lean income, can afford such equipment.”
Another source said: “A faction of the Boko Haram might have directly or indirectly given the intelligence that led to the arrests of the late Abu Mohammed and his men in Adamawa, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto Kebbi and their routing during a Shura Council (highest decision making body) meeting in Layin Hanwa in Zaria and the subsequent rescue mission in Mabera Estate in Sokoto.
“Do not forget that Abu Mohammed broke away and ran a faction of the Boko Haram, until he was arrested March 7, after a gun battle with security agents. He died March 9 from gunshot wounds.
“This is to show you that there is deep division within Boko Haram. As a matter of fact, the death of Mohammed and the arrest of some of his men is said to have elicited jubilation in the camp the other faction that variously described the Mohammed faction and men as traitors and betrayers.”
The State Security Service (SSS) paraded eight sect members arrested in connection with the kidnapping and killing of the Briton and the Italian.
Three of those arrested -Bashir Ibrahim (aka Adda’u); Ibrahim A. Habibu; and Gambo Maiborodi – allegedly carried out surveillance on the hostages in Kebbi State before they were abducted on May 12, last year.
Others paraded are: Mohammed Rabiu Adam (aka Dan Hajiya); Abubakar Abdulrahman Habibu; Shittu Salihu; Abubakar Umar and Ahmed Samaila.
The suspects are yet to be charged to court. The search for the German may have delayed the arraignment of the suspects in court.
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