News / Africa

    'Mastermind' of Abuja Blast Back in Nigeria

    Photographs of Rufai Abubakar Tsiga (L) and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche are presented to the media by the State Security Service in Abuja, Nigeria, May 12, 2014.
    Photographs of Rufai Abubakar Tsiga (L) and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche are presented to the media by the State Security Service in Abuja, Nigeria, May 12, 2014.
    Heather Murdock

    Nigerian security forces have taken custody of a former army intelligence officer who is accused of "masterminding" a bombing in the capital that killed dozens of people. 

    In the early hours of April 14, the Nyanya bus station on the outskirts of Abuja was filled with commuters headed to the center of town for work when two bombs detonated.  At least 71 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
     
    The blasts were the first in the capital in two years and by far the most deadly in the city's history.  
     
    Nigerian security forces arrested five suspects in May, saying two others, "the masterminds," were at large.  
     
    State Security Services spokesperson Marilyn Ogar said one of those suspects, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, was returned to Nigeria on Tuesday.  
     
    "Security forces took delivery of Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche who has been extradited from the Sudanese government and has been taken into custody.  The investigation is going to continue and I think very soon he will be charged to court also," he announced.
     
    Ogwuche is the British-born son of a retired Nigerian army colonel.  He has previously been arrested on terrorism-related charges.

    A soldier and a paramilitary officer help to move part of a damaged car at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.A soldier and a paramilitary officer help to move part of a damaged car at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.
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    A soldier and a paramilitary officer help to move part of a damaged car at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.
    A soldier and a paramilitary officer help to move part of a damaged car at the scene of a car bomb attack in Nyanya, Abuja, May 2, 2014.

    Officials said the arrest was a major win for Nigerian security forces, which have been criticized heavily for failing to rescue more than 200 girls kidnapped in the north on the same day as the Nyanya bombing.
     
    Militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing and kidnapping the girls.  The group says it wants to impose a strict version of Islamic law on Nigeria and has been blamed for thousands of deaths this year alone.
     
    Since the Nyanya bombing, two other bombings in Abuja have claimed dozens of lives and raised fears that Boko Haram's reach is expanding beyond the northeast, where three states have been under emergency rule for more than a year.
     
    "The fight against insurgency and the effort to get our girls back is top priority of the government of Nigeria.  Besides that, this is also evidence that the armed forces of Nigeria and security services and all agencies are working hard to put this thing behind us as a nation," said Nigeria National Information Center Coordinator Mike Omeri.
     
    Another alleged mastermind of the bombing, Rufai Abubakar Tsiga, remains missing and the Nigerian government has offered a $150,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.  

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    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 16, 2014 1:55 PM
    First it is very commendable for the forces to know who carried out the attacks and tracked him until he has been caught. I think that is the biggest surprise from the stables of the Nigerian security system, because it knows next to nothing in this country except when it wants to witch hunt. It's a country where security is for the elite and God for the rest of us. Thank God for whatever reason they have done this. Yet doubts abound if the next move is not going to be concluded on the back complimentary cards to who is who.

    Already some people up there are beginning to suggest the innocence of Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche in the bombings, and the next thing might be to tell us he's been released for lack of evidence. We cannot forget so soon that this is a country where a culprit was tried on 130+ count charges and was freed on all, but the same culprit was tried elsewhere in Europe on 3 of the count charges and was convicted on all three. Nigeria's justice system is questionable. Maybe it would want to score a point for itself in this one. Good luck Nigeria

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