Masterminds of Owo catholic church massacre arrested, says military
The authorities of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday said the masterminds of the 5 June, 2022 massacre at Catholic church in Owo town of , Ondo State, have been captured by security operatives.
Penpushing reports that, the Chief of Staff General Lucky Irabor, made this known at parley with media executives at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja adding that the terrorists were captured at different locations across the country, stressing that they would be paraded before the public in due course
“We had wanted to present the suspects to the public immediately but couldn’t because certain investigations are still being carried out. Starting with the Owo church attack, it is my pleasure to let you know that we have arrested those behind that dastardly act’, he said
“On August 7, one Idris Ojo (37) was apprehended at Aiyetorosi in Ondo State. He was one of the high-profile Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) members that escaped from Kuje Prison He was arrested along with one Jimoh Ibrahim, a 39-year-old criminal’, Irabo stated
“Ojo was not done with all the criminal activities which he undertook in the past, he was also planning other deadly attacks and he was perfecting those plans along with his cronies before he was captured. Again on August 4, the military in a combined operation with the Department of State Service (DSS) arrested four terrorists at Eika in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State’.
“Others are Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza, otherwise known as Ibn Malik; Momoh Abubakar, Aliyu Itopa and Auwal Onimisi. Now, Omeiza is one of the masterminds of the June 5 Catholic Church attack in Owo as well as the attack on the police station in Adavi also in Kogi State that led to the killing of a policeman as well as weapons being carried away’, he said.
Penpushing further reports that, Irabor speaking on the Abuja-Kaduna train attack, said that although some victims had been released, adding that the military and other security agencies remained committed to ensuring the safe rescue of the remaining victims in captivity.
The Chief of Staff said the military had intensified both air and ground operations to deal with criminals in all parts of the country, adding that several successes had been recorded in recent times, disclosing that based on military air operations, the military on 6 August killed one Alhaji Abdulkareen, a bandits’ leader along with his fighters in Nigeria’s North-west.
“By the deeds of the surgical air operations that we have conducted, many of the bandits’ leaders have been killed,” he added.
Penpushing also reports that he explained that the essence of the parley was to solicit understanding and support from the media in the fight against the security challenges bedevilling the nation.
The army general however, called for greater cooperation between the military and the media with a view to finding solutions to the security challenges and disallowing enemies from stoking fears in the minds of the public, and equally urged Nigerians and political leaders to understand the distinction between military operations and politics, adding that the military remained undaunted in ensuring a safe and secured nation.
Penpushing reports that the Director, Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor earlier said the essence of the parley was to build a sustainable trust between the media and members of the armed forces, stressing that the meeting was in line with the leadership focus of Chief of Defence Staff toward fostering professional armed forces capable of meeting constitutional imperatives.
The Chief Executive Officer of The Media Today, Charles Odenigbo, in his remarks pointed out that the military and media must be frank and open to each other in ensuring peace and security in the country.
Penpushing further reports that Odenigbo, who was the facilitator of the event, noted that although military operations could not be discussed in the open, but posited that there was a need to see how the media could fit into the activities of the military.
The bloody attack on St Francis Catholic Church, it is recalled jolted the entire country and global community, an ugly development which led to massacre of about 40 worshippers, as well as scores of others sustaining degree of injuries