Habibu Bama, a cell leader for Boko Haram and the suspected mastermind of the Christmas Day bloody attack on Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger State is dead.
Mr. Bama, who was arrested Thursday in Damaturu, Yobe State as he attempted to grab a gun from a soldier, died early this morning from gunshot wounds he received from agents of the Joint Task Force battling the extremist Islamist sect.
More than 42 worshipers and bystanders died in the Christmas Day attack, one of the most vicious launched by Boko Haram.
A JTF source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Bama “was critically wounded yesterday when we tried to arrest him and he resisted. He died this morning from the gunshot wounds.”
The late Bama was declared wanted by the State Security Service following the bombing at Saint Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla. In a statement issued shortly after the attack, the SSS disclosed that Mr. Bama, an ex-soldier who hailed from Bama town in Borno State, was also known as Habib Bama, Shuaibu Bama and Habib Mamman.
Security sources revealed that Mr. Bama also played a key role in planning and executing the bombing of the UN building in Abuja on August 26, 2011. More than 18 people lost their lives in the attack, with scores more wounded.
A senior officer of the State Security Service, who confirmed the death of the bomber, said “Bama died in the early hours of today.”
The source said, “As I speak with you, the bomber is dead. He died as a result of the injuries he sustained during his arrest.”
However, our correspondent gathered that, though Mr. Bama sustained gunshot injuries during his arrest, they might not have been enough for him to die if he had been given medical treatment.
An SSS official told SaharaReporters that there was a deliberate decision to deny the late Boko Haram cell leader medical care to prevent a situation whereby it would be difficult to prosecute him. The source noted that government prosecutors were finding it extremely difficult to prosecute 10 members of the sect now in custody.
Thirteen mounts after the arraignment of the suspects before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the prosecution has found it difficult to get witnesses to testify against the accused. “Witnesses are afraid of what would happen to them and their families if they come to court to testify against Boko Haram members,” said the source.
Last Thursday, an exasperated Justice Abdul Kafarati, who is presiding over the case, indicated that he would discharge the accused persons if the government was unable to proceed with their prosecution.