New terrorist group, JAMA’ATU ANSARUL MUSLIMINA FI BILADIS-SUDAN (a.k.a JAMBS), has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack on Nigerian’s troops in Kogi State.
JAMBS, believed to be a breakaway faction of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, said in a statement on Saturday ,that the soldiers were attacked in order to warn Nigeria against joining Western powers in their “aim to demolish the Islamic empire of Mali.”
The soldiers, on their way to Mali as part of African peacekeeping mission, were ambushed by the JAMBS members , who threw Improvised Explosive Devices at their convoy along Okene-Lokoja Road. Two soldiers and many others were said to be injured during a gun battle that ensued.
JAMBS claim came on a day that the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was flown abroad for treatment after Saturday’s attack on his convoy. Bayero’s driver and three others died in the attack.
In a terse statement posted by an online publication, Dessert Herald, on Sunday, a person claiming to be the Leader of JAMBS, Abu usamatal Ansary, warned Nigeria and other African to be ready for “ more difficulties” as they embarked on restoring peace to Mali.
The statement reads, “We, members of JAMA’ATU ANSARUL MUSLIMINA FI BILADIS-SUDAN, are gladly informing the general public, especially those in black Africa, that with the aid and guidance of Allah, we on January 19, 2013 at Itape, Ekehi Local Government Area of Kogi State, successfully executed our first attempt in attacking the Nigerian troops that were aiming to demolish the Islamic Empire of Mali.
“We are equipped and waiting for any slightest attempt of Nigerian army moving towards the Islamic Empire of Mali. And we are warning African countries to stop helping Western countries in fighting against Islam and Muslims; if not, we are sternly assuring them, particularly the Nigerian government to be prepared and be utmost ready to face difficulties from JAMBS anywhere and anytime. May Allah help us and grant our wishes.”
When contacted, the Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.- Gen Bola Koleosho, said he had not seen the statement by the group.
He said the terrorists were giving Okenne a bad name which the people must resist.
He said “I have not seen it (the claim by JAMBS). I am just hearing it. We are not issuing any statement now.
“The only thing I see is that it could affect the image of Okenne as a town. Commuters passing through the town are already dreading it. They are giving the town a bad name. And I know that law-abiding people in the town would resist it.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian troops arrived Bamako, the Malian capital on Sunday.
Mali, a neighbouring West African country, has been in the throes of Islamic insurgency since March 2012 when mutinous soldiers in Bamako overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré.
The soldiers said they were angry over the government’s alleged mishandling of a rebellion by nomadic Tuareg rebels in the country’s vast northern desert.
Following on the heels of the coup, the Tuareg rebels first seized much of the north and then were themselves pushed out by Islamist extremists.
The Nigerian soldiers are part of the West African intervention troops in the crisis.
Meanwhile, the Emir of Kano’s departure to London at about 1.35 pm Sunday was witnessed by the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Islamic scholars and top government officials.
The 83-year-old Emir, said to have been hit in the attack on his convoy, travelled in a private jet which took off around 1.30pm on Sunday for London . He travelled in company with his two sons-the Ciroman Kano, Sanusi Ado Bayero; and Turakin Kano, District Head of Nassarawa, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, who were also hit by bullets during the attack on the Emir.
Ganduje told journalists at the airport that three suspects had been arrested by security agencies in connection with the attack.
The deputy governor said the suspects had been cooperating with security agencies in their investigations. He described the incident as “very unfortunate” but said the Emir was “very stable.”
He said, “We thank God that his royal highness was able to survive the attack, as you can see now, the Emir is leaving for medical check-up in London.
“We embarked on massive prayers to seek God’s support to expose those behind this crime. I spoke with the Emir and he narrated to me how it happened.”
Special Adviser to the Governor on Emirate Affairs, Alhaji Tijjani Sanka, told journalists that Bayor had earlier planned a trip to London before the attack.
Also on Sunday, the Northern States Governors’ Forum described the attack on the Emir as a terrorist act.
Chairman of the forum and Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu called on the government to quickly check the spate of violence in the country.
The northern umbrella group, Arewa Consultative Forum, expressed shock at the attack and called for thorough investigation, while the Islamic body, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, said governments at all levels should give security of lives and property utmost priority.
“The JNI condemns, in strongest term, this dastardly act that led to loss of innocent lives, and again reiterates its earlier calls to governments at all levels to give security of lives and properties of citizens the utmost priority it deserves,” the group said in a statement on Sunday.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party described the attack on Bayero as an assault on the traditional institution.
A statement by its National Publicity Secretary , Olisa Metuh, said it was deeply saddened by the wave of attacks in the country and urged those behind the acts to have a rethink.
It added that there was no justification for bloodletting and urged Nigerians to learn to live harmoniously with one another.
It advised those who had grievances to seek legitimate means of getting redress instead of resorting to violence.