Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Obama hails Buhari, DSS for foiling attack on US

President Barack Obama has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, to thank Nigeria for its role in providing information that led to the foiling of a planned terrorist attack on the United States of
America (USA).

Obama also commended the Department of State Services (DSS) which provided the intelligence information.

The DSS disclosed to a few selected media houses yesterday that a few months back, the service got information about a group planning to carry out a terror attack on US soil.

It said the information was shared with relevant US agencies who collaborated with the service to forestall the attack.

DSS said a section of the letter by Obama, specifically praised the agency for their professionalism and expertise in handling of the matter.

The source further disclosed that since the arrest of Khaid al-Barnawi, leader of Ansaru, a splinter group from Boko Haram, delegations from intelligence services across the world had been visiting Nigeria to consult the DSS as well as interrogate the suspect who is still in custody.

Operating under different aliases such as Mohammed Usman, Kafuri, Naziru, Alhaji Yahaya, Mallam Dauda and Alhaji Tanimu, Al-Barnawi, discovered to be the mastermind of the bombing of the UN building in Abuja was arrested by the DSS in April 2016.

Before his arrest, the USA Department of State designated him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 on June 21, 2012 and announced a reward of $5 million for his arrest.

The USA government designated Ansaru, which emerged as a faction of Boko Haram and announced its formation in early 2012 a Foreign Terrorist Organisation on 13 November, 2013.

Ansaru has close ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and has sought to target Westerners, including Americans.

Al-Barnawi is alleged to be behind the May 2011 kidnapping from Kebbi State of a British and an Italian engineer, who remained hostages until they were killed in March 2012.

On November 26, 2012, Ansaru members raided a police station in Abuja, killing Nigerian police officers and freeing detained terrorists from prison.

Ansaru also claimed responsibility for the December 19, 2012 kidnapping of a French engineer in northwestern Nigeria, and the February 16, 2013 kidnapping and subsequent execution of seven construction workers from Britain, Greece, Lebanon, and Italy.

The DSS source said “We arrested the man responsible for the killing of expatriates between 2012 and 2013. The US announced a bounty on his head but we arrested him for free. He’s still in our custody and intelligence organisations have been coming to us here, some to interrogate him.”

“Nigeria’s service chiefs and heads of security organisations are now respected abroad and accorded full protocol as those from their countries get when they visit Nigeria,” he stated, adding that more countries were beginning to call on Nigeria to share her success tips in that regard.

On the issue of Sambisa Forest recently recovered from insurgents, the souce assured that the security agencies were prepared for the fallout of the takeover and were ready to arrest remnants of fleeing insurgents.

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