Two more ISWAP terrorists linked to Owo church attack arrested
Nigeria Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said two more Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists linked to the attack on St Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo state, has been arrested.
Terrorists attack the Catholic Church in Ondo State in early June and killed over 40 worshippers with many others injured. The incident drew widespread condemnation, with President Muhammadu Buhari ordering security agencies to arrest the attackers.
Nigeria’s interior minister Rauf Aregbesola blamed the attack on ISWAP, but the claim was countered by Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu who said the government was too hasty in its conclusions.
On Tuesday, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, announced that the gunmen behind the attack on the church have been arrested.
DHQ spokesman Jimmy Akpor in a statement said two more suspected ISWAP fighters linked to the dastardly attack have been apprehended.
Akpor disclosed that the suspects were arrested through a combined operation by military and DSS personnel at Eika, Okehi LGA, Kogi State on 1 August 2022.
Those arrested include Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza (a.k.a Bin Malik), Momoh Otohu Abubakar, Aliyu Yusuf Itopa and Auwal Ishaq Onimisi.
“Barely few hours after the disclosure by the CDS of the arrest of 4 of the Owo Catholic Church attackers, 2 additional ISWAP terrorists, who were also connected to the attack on the church were apprehended at Omialafara (Omulafa), Ose LGA, Ondo State yesterday, 9 August 2022,” Akpor said.
“The arrests were made through the collaborative effort by military and DSS personnel. The suspects are Al-Qasim Idris and Abdulhaleem Idris.”
He said Abdulhaleem, alongside other high-profile ISWAP commanders, had also previously coordinated attacks on military targets in Okene, Okene LGA, and Kogi State resulting in casualties.