21 killed in failed attack on NNPC facility

Twenty-one persons, including six suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect, were killed Tuesday when the terrorists were on a mission to bomb a facility belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Maiduguri.

A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, in Abuja, said the suspected bombers, driving Golf cars, were heading to the NNPC facility on Maiduguri-Damboa Road when they died in their vehicles laden with improvised explosive devices (IED).

Fifteen civilians, including a member of the Youth Vigilante Group, known as Civilian JTF, died while 17 others, including five soldiers, were wounded in the explosions.

“Three of the four explosive-laden vehicles were demobilised by shots fired at them by soldiers at the checkpoint shortly before the explosions that rocked the area.

“Eight vehicles were also destroyed in the incident. Six of the terrorists died while one has been arrested,” Olukolade said.

Commenting on the seemingly unending siege laid on his state, Borno Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, yesterday said the dreaded Boko Haram sect was a child of misinterpretation of the Holy Qur'an and misconception of Islam.

The governor, who strongly condemned the activities of the sect, said there was no place in the Qur'an where Islam supported the killing of innocent lives and destruction of property.

Shettima, while receiving the Board for Qur'anic Education in the state, that brought winners of the 2014 National Qur'anic Competition held in Dutse, Jigawa State to him, said the insurgents had misinterpreted the Qur'an and Islam and unleashed unjust and unlawful terror on Nigerians.

He explained that Islam is a religion of peace, which does not condone killings and destruction under whatever form.

He said: “The distorted translation of the holy book by the insurgents landed us in this mess; if we had a good understanding of Islam, we would have been in a better state.

“There is no room for extremism in Islam. We need to go back to Islam as practised by Prophet Mohammed, when Islam encouraged Muslims, Jews and Christians to leave in peace with one another.

“We are presently in a period where some lunatics claiming to be crusaders of Islam are killing innocent people, burning mosques and churches. It is the bad interpretation of the holy book by the insurgents that caused all this.”

Shettima congratulated the participants for their success in the competition, tasking them to maintain the tempo. He also donated N10 million to both the participants and officials.

In another incident, five suspected members of the terror sect have been taken into custody by officials of the State Security Services (SSS) in Oyo State.

Security sources confirmed to THISDAY last night that about 18 suspected members of Boko Haram were intercepted and picked up last Friday at a location within the state by the joint operatives of the military and SSS.

After extensive interrogation, 13 of them were said to have been released, while the remaining five were said to be in SSS custody for further interrogation and investigation.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Ilobanafor, however, said she was not in a position to confirm the arrest of the suspects, stating that if there was any such arrest, the state Police Command would have passed the information to the public.

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