On May 1, 2019, four gunmen stormed the residence of Alhaji Musa Umar Uba, who holds the title of Magajin Garin Daura in Katsina State and abducted him.
Three months after his abduction, he was rescued by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team in conjunction with the Kano State Police Command.
A year after the abduction and rescue operation, IRT Operatives, headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, have discovered that the group behind the abduction and several other abductions and killings in the North East is the dreaded Jama’atu Ansaril Muslimina fi Biladis Sudan, otherwise known as the Vanguard for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa.
The group was said to have become a top priority on the list of the must-be-destroyed groups of the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, after he received petitions showing that its members had been sending emails to different companies, threatening to kidnap their expatriates if the companies didn’t pay them N50 million every year.
The terrorist group’s move was a classical reenactment of James Harley Chase’s novel, Want to Stay Alive?, where the main character, Poke Toholo, believed that fear was the key that unlocks the wallets and handbags of the rich, and worked towards actualising his beliefs.
The group was allegedly responsible for the kidnap of two expatriates working with Triacta Nigeria Limited, a construction company.
Kyari and his men have so far arrested nine among the members and recovered 204 rounds of AK47 live ammunition, military uniforms, operational vehicle, drugs and foodstuffs meant to be conveyed to members inside Birnin Gwari bush in Kaduna State.
The nine suspects are Mustapha Aminu, 23, aka China, of Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna State; Saidu Aminu, 26, aka Dawud, of Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna State; Aminu Shuaibu, 33, aka Abu Mus’ab, of Rigasa, Kaduna State; Ishak Khalid, 30, aka Uztaz, of Maraban, Jos, Plateau State; Abubakar Yusuf, 24, aka AY, of Rigasa, Kaduna State; Awal Umar Tela, 34, of Maraban, Jos, Plateau State; Abubakar Isah Muhammad, 25, aka Khalifa Abu Aisara, of Dala, Kano State; Shuaibu Ahmadu, 25, from Katsina State; and Abubakar Mustafa, 32, of Maraban, Jos, Plateau State.
According to an inside source, the suspects were arrested after weeks of unrelenting surveillances.
The group was further alleged to have been terrorising workers of Triacta Limited and was also responsible for attacks on Mothercat Construction Company Limited.
The suspects were said to have been monitored, trailed and then arrested in different hideouts in Kaduna, Kano and Katsina States.
The source added: “The suspects have confessed to the kidnapping of the two expatriates, Zaid Alas from Jordan and Isah Jabour, a Syrian, working with Triacta Limited at Shiroro, Niger State.
“The victims were kidnapped on December 9, 2019 and the group’s leaders, Dogo Gide and Mahmud, led the operation.
“The group collected N120 million as ransom and each member was given between N200,000 to N300,000.
“The suspects also confessed that their group was responsible for attacking Mothercat Construction Company as well as the kidnapping of Magajin Garin Daura in Katsina State.
“The suspects are also assisting our operatives to track other fleeing members of the group.
“Among the fleeing members are the armourers, Aliyu Sokoto and Mus’ab, who sent threat e-mails to Triacta Limited and were also the persons who negotiated with the Managing Director of the Company on how N50 million would be paid to the group yearly, so that it would stop kidnapping the company’s expatriates.”
One of the suspects, Shuaibu, said: “I’m not yet married because I wanted to have freedom to make money.
“I dropped out of school due to financial problems.
“I survived by doing menial jobs until I was able to raise money to buy a Golf car.
“I used the car as a cab.
“Normally, I make as much as N5,000 a day.
“This is the job that I have been doing for years even as a member of Ansarul terrorist group.
“It was in 2015 that I met one Mamoud in the mosque.
“After prayer, we used to hang out and discuss about life.
“I was a member of the Izala Muslim Movement and we normally gather for prayers and listen to lectures from Imams.
“Mamoud was the one that told me about Ansarul group.
“He said that I would make a lot of money if I became a member.
“He explained to me that we would be fighting the cause of Allah, and that I would also have the opportunity to travel to Libya.
“I was happy to join because I believed that they were not like Boko Haram group that was killing fellow Muslims.
“It was the excitement of going to Libya that convinced me to join the group.
“As soon as I met Maitukwane, the lead of the group in Nigeria, he asked me to join the medical team.
“That was how I was trained as a doctor in the camp.
“My duty was to attend to the sick and the wounded.
“Yes, I know that the group used to kidnap people regularly as a way of making money since government does not allow the group to operate freely.”
“We were operating freely before Army and Police dispersed us, and then we had to go deeper into the forest.
“It was only some of us who still had our families outside that were moved around town.
“Three years ago, I was one of the members drafted to go to Libya and assist in fighting against their government.
“It was Ahmdumahid, who was in-charge of our own group in Kaduna, that sent five of us to Libya at the same time.
“On getting to Libya, I was drafted to work in their clinic.
“The Ansarul Group in Libya was under serious attack from their government and a lot of them were wounded.
“During my spare time, I go to the field to learn how to become a professional sniper.
“We were not sent there to make money.
“All they did was to give us N50,000 every three months as allowance.
“We all went there with the belief that we were fighting a good cause.
“We were not the only Nigerians sent to Libya that time.
“Different sets came from different areas in Nigeria to assist them.
“I spent about a year in Libya before I was asked to return because our camp in Nigeria needed my skill as a doctor.”
Shuaibu, who disclosed that he never attended any medical school, explained that he was trained by professional doctors.
He said some of their members were professional medical doctors.
These doctors come from cities into the bush to attend to wounded members whenever there was a need.
The suspect explained that people like him had to be recruited into the group and trained to become doctor after some of the group’s medical doctors expressed fear that the Nigerian Government was onto them.
He said: “That was why a few of us were drafted into the medical unit to be trained as doctors.
“I don’t know the name of the doctor that trained me.
“We all called him doctor.
“I spent about two months with him and learnt the job.
“I can stitch cuts, treat deep wounds and remove bullets.
“To help the wounded to recover fast, I give them tramadol injection and chloramphenicol injection.
“If the matter is so bad, I call the doctor that trained me for advice.
“I also attended to victims who are sick.
“During my spare time, I teach new members how to become a doctor.
“I never knew that Police were after me despite how careful I was.
“In my community, everyone knows me as a cab driver.
“I received a message to go and collect money from one of our sponsors.
“The message turned out to be hoax.
“It turned out to be trap set by the Police.
“I’m sorry and will like to be given an opportunity to leave the group.”
Another member of the group, Saidu, said he was just 17 years old and in his final year in a government college in Kaduna State when his father told him that he had to drop out of school.
He recalled: “My mother knew about it but was more interested in keeping her marriage than my future.
“Since she did not object, I had no choice than to abide by my father’s instruction.
“My father was a member of the Ansarul group before Police arrested him.
“As soon as I was joined the group in 2015, I was sent to Libya for training.
“I was supposed to be a field agent, so my training was more on how to survive during a war.
“We were told that if one was trained in Libya, he would experience real fighting between government and our members.
“I was there for just six months before I had an accident, leading to my two fingers being amputated.
“The accident happened when I was driving our operational jeep and I drove into a ditch.
“They said that I could not continue with my training.
“I was sent back home.
“Back in Nigeria, I was told to go and learn how to sew clothes that I would be staying in town to assist the group whenever the need arises.
“I had to learn how to sew clothes so that no one would suspect that I belonged to the group.
“The group sends money into my account, which I use in buying things needed by members to survive in the bush.”
Saidu further confessed to have also participated in some kidnap operations in the past.
His words: “I was among those that kidnapped the foreigners at a construction site in Niger State.
“I came to the camp that day and I was asked to join them since I had a bit of an experience.
“I don’t know how much was collected as ransom, but at the end of the operation, I was given N200,000.
“I also participated in another kidnap operation in Zamfara State.
“We blocked the highway and kidnapped several people in vehicles that we flagged down.
“I was given just N50,000 in that operation because we didn’t make much money.”
When Saidu was asked what he thinks law enforcement agencies could do to neutralise the terrorist group, he suggested that the agencies should concentrate on arresting leaders of terrorist groups,
He added: “We were initially told that we were fighting against none Muslims, but I have come to realise that majority of the people we kidnapped were actually Muslims.
“I have not achieved anything since I joined the group, and the worst of it all is that I can no longer go back to school.
“I will like to leave that group, but if the leaders are still alive, they will order that I be killed.
“If law enforcement agents can arrest all our leaders, other members of the group will disperse.
“If our leaders are not arrested, then the law enforcement people and the government are wasting their time because the leaders will keep going to mosques to recruit young people.
“The truth is that if anyone of us is killed or dies, our leaders just go to different mosques and recruit new people to replace those that had been killed or died.”
Saidu has a younger brother, Mustapha, in the group called.
The boy was just 16 years old when his father asked him and Saidu to drop out of school and join the terrorist group
He said: “I was 16 years old when my father forced us to join the group.
“The group said that I was too young to go to Libya for training.
“My father handed me over to one Mamoud, who taught me how to shoot and drive the group’s operational vehicles.
“My job was to run errands until I had come of age to travel abroad for further trainings.
“Another role I played in the group was to buy food, and sometimes I watch over victims that were kidnapped.
“When I joined the group, I was told that we were fighting against the Nigerian government.
“They made us to believe that when we take over Nigeria, our families would become millionaires and own houses in Abuja.
“I was placed on N100,000 monthly allowance and asked to stay in town in order to be running errands.
“It was also my responsibility to collect arms from our members in Sokoto and take them to those in the bush.
“We don’t pay those that supply the arms because everybody is working towards winning the war.
“Sometimes, however, the group gives the suppliers money as gifts.
“Last year, when Police arrested my father, I swore that I would renounce my membership of the group because I knew that Police were looking for me.
“After some months, I became broke, so returned to the group.
“I wish that my father had not withdrawn me from school.
“I had always dreamt of becoming a doctor.
“I still love to return to school if I’m given the opportunity.
“I do not know how Police will end the activities of the group because our members are everywhere.”