Friday, November 19, 2010

SSS uncovers vehicle, military kits linked to alleged Abuja bombers

MOVES to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of the October 1, 2010 bombings in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, during Independence Day celebration, have led to the recovery in Port Harcourt of one of the vehicles allegedly purchased and sent by Henry Okah for the perpetration of the crime.

According to the State Security Services (SSS), the vehicle traced by its operatives to a hotel in Port Harcourt, was laden with military accoutrement.

Addressing reporters in Abuja yesterday, Assistant Director of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said the agency was able to achieve the feat following confessions by the suspected culprits in their custody, which led to evidence found with the sister of one of the suspects said to be a nursing mother in Port Harcourt. 

The SSS said before the bomb blasts in Abuja, it on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, at about 0130 hours announced that it had received information that the three arms zone was to be bombed and six vehicles had already been prepared for the purpose.

Consequently, it contacted the military, which provided three towing trucks that were added to that of the security service, and immediately commenced joint operations.

“During the operations that lasted from 0215 hours to 0630 hours of the same date, a total of nine abandoned vehicles were towed away. Of these, two were near the SSS headquarters; two facing the villa gate and the National Assembly; two close to the Police Headquarters; one at the Eagle Square and two around Apo Legislative Quarters,” she added.

Ogar said the vehicle recovered in Port Harcourt, a Mazda 626 with a Lagos registration number 318 FKJ, was parked at a hotel and thereafter towed to its headquarters in Abuja.

Ogar said that the service recovered military items including boots, water bottles and camp tents among others sent by Okah, to one of the suspects for onward movement to militants in the creeks.

She explained that the military accoutrement was sent through a popular transport company, which runs cargo courier service from Lagos and Port Harcourt. She declined to disclose the identity of the transport company.
The SSS spokeswoman further disclosed that other military items, including 10 bulletproof jackets and camouflage vests, were found cleverly tucked in a compartment created between the rear passenger sit and the boot of the recovered vehicle.

“During investigation, we got to know that this vehicle was in Port Harcourt, and we were told that the sister of one of the suspects who is a nursing mother was the one in possession of this vehicle. She was the one that led the SSS team to the hotel in Port Harcourt,” she revealed.
According to her, “the nursing mother did not leave the vehicle in the house. She left it in a hotel and when the hotel management did not know who owns the vehicle, what they did was just to deflate the tyres. They never knew what was inside the vehicle until the Service arrived to tow it to Abuja.”

While warning transport companies to be more circumspect in handling goods for customers, Ogar said that the SSS would not hesitate to prosecute any transport company responsible for conveying prohibited items in the country.

“Equally, car dealers are advised to obtain the full particulars of persons purchasing cars from them, to avoid being held liable on grounds of suspicion for the misdeeds of others,” she said.

She assured that ongoing investigations would be pursued by the service until all loose ends are tied up and every culprit apprehended and prosecuted.