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Benue Massacre: DSS, Other Security Agencies Implicate ISWA Fighters

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Another intriguing dimension has been introduced in the suspected herdsmen attacks and killings as the Department of State Service DSS has alleged that the Islamic State in West Africa network ISWA operating within some North Central and South-South sections of Nigeria may be responsible for the for the melee.

The allegation according The Punch was contained in an intelligence report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by some security agencies, including the DSS.

A top government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity Sunday confided in journalists that the security organizations told the President that the ISWA network is using foreign terrorists and recruiting young men to fight and kill innocent persons “ostensibly to exacerbate tensions along the county’s ethnic, religious and regional fault lines.”

He said the discovery was made following the arrest of several suspected attackers made up of Fulani herdsmen, government-sponsored militias, militants and other miscreants in Benue State.

Among the suspects in custody, according to the Presidency source, are who cannot speak any of the Nigerian languages, yet, some of them were reportedly fluent in French language.

The source added that this is the first time that security officials would be confirming that the ISWA members are operating as a unit in Nigeria

“A good number of the Islamic State terrorists have been arrested not only in the Benue valley but significantly, in several towns in Edo State, specifically in Akoko-Edo, Okpella and Benin as well as in Okene, in Kogi State.

“It is understood that the cell which has members in different parts of the country concentrates on recruiting young men to fight for the Islamic State in West Africa by unleashing the cold-blooded murder on innocent citizens.

“There was intelligence report that they had planned several attacks here, before and during Christmas and the New Year. Their bombing targets included fuel depots, foreign missions and police and military establishments.

“Their network is very wide. But so much was achieved

“Their network is very wide. But so much was achieved by the DSS which had made a significant number of arrests in the last two months that helped to preempt those attacks” the source confirmed.

Reacting to the allegation, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has confirmed that the President has been receiving a lot of reports on the killings in Benue and other states.

Still, he denied having knowledge of security report, implicating ISWA as he has not been briefed in this regard.

 

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