Armed soldiers operating under the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Thursday evening apprehended the owner of Al-Amir restaurants chain, Alhaji Muktari, during a raid at Gwammaja quarters in Kano metropolis. JTF did not comment on the arrest, but Weekly Trust gathered from security sources that the businessman was being suspected of having links with the Boko Haram sect, which has been carrying out attacks in Kano and other parts of the north.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the operation lasted about an hour, during which dozens of troops cordoned off the area around the suspect’s residence and forced residents to remain indoors. A neighbour, who does not want his name mentioned, said the soldiers stormed the area in about a dozen military trucks, accompanied by armored personnel carriers.
The raid had begun shortly after Muslims broke their Ramadan fast. The spokesperson of the mosque committee near the residence of the arrested businessman and former deputy chairman of Dala Local Government, Sama’ila Imam, said the soldiers had shut them inside the mosque, before returning an hour after done with the raid.
“We were inside the mosque, preparing to break our fast when the soldiers arrived and shut the door from outside. After about an hour, they returned with the man, who was obviously beaten up,” he said. Imam also said that five soldiers entered the mosque, while 20 others waited outside.
“They entered the mosque with their boots on and went row after row, asking each one of us to stand up for the Alhaji to identify if any of us were his accomplice. They would ask him, ‘is he the one?’ and he would answer ‘no’,” he said.
“We had to come out after today’s Friday prayers to clear the air about the incident and to condemn the desecration of our mosque by the JTF personnel,” said the mosque official. A security source confirmed the arrest, saying the businessman was picked for interrogation based on his suspected association with the Boko Haram group.
Of recent, he said, security agents have received reports about people on motorcycles visiting his ‘Yan Majalisa Estate residence in the night, which prompted his arrest. Meanwhile, Weekly Trust could not reach any relation of the businessman for comments, as his family members were said to be located in another part of the state.
Also, all attempts to get the JTF spokesperson, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, to speak on the arrest failed yesterday as he did not answer several calls to his mobile phone. He equally did not reply a text message sent to him on the issue up to the time of going to press.
JTF arrests the owner of Al-Amir restaurant in Kano.