Some masterminds of the Owo, massacre which left 40 persons dead and several others injured have been arrested.
Two of the main suspects involved in deadly terrorist attack are 32-year-old Idris Ojo and Jimoh Ibrahim, aged 39 years.
Confirming the arrest of the suspects, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Lucky Irabor, said the suspects were arrested through a joint intelligence-led operation by the military and other security agencies.
According to Irabor, two of the masterminds of the deadly terrorist attack were 32-year-old Idris Ojo and Jimoh Ibrahim, 39.
He said four other persons were arrested at Eja in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State, in connection with the June 5 attack on the Catholic Church in Owo and another attack on a Police station in which a policeman was killed.
He said: “They (suspects) are Idris Abdul Malik Omeiza, Momoh Ojowu Abu, Aliyu Yusuf, and Auwal Onimisi. They were arrested in a joint operation with DSS and the police. Auwal Onimisi was arrested in Kogi State.
“Idris Abdulmalik Omeiza was the mastermind of the terrorist attack on Saint Francis Catholic Church, Owo, and the June attack on a Police station in Kogi State that claimed the life of a police officer.’
General Irabor said the arrested masterminds would have been paraded before the media but for the fact that there was still some part of the investigations to be tidied up.
Recall that at least 40 people were killed when gunmen stormed the church on June 5, opened fire on the congregation, and also detonated explosives as worshippers scampered for safety.
Regarding the heightened tension over recent attacks in the FCT involving troops of the Presidential Guards Brigade, at Bwari and Zuma Rock, the CDS dispelled the notion that terrorist elements were laying siege on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and already plotting further attacks on residents of Abuja.
Maintaining that Abuja was safe, and had not been invaded by Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, terrorists, Irabor said insinuations of terrorists’ invasion of FCT were fake news, targeted at creating panic among residents of the city.
He said such reports, which create fear and panic, were the type of media propaganda terrorists and other criminals needed to be in the public domain, adding that it was playing to their advantage by creating a sense of uncertainty and apprehension.
While reiterating the commitment of the military to protect the democratic ideals in Africa’s most populous nation, Gen. Irabor said: ”The military has made a covenant to protect Nigeria’s democracy and it has not changed its position.
“The federal government and, of course, Mr. President, has directed me and the entire members, not just the Armed Forces but defense/security agencies, to do everything possible that whoever was living in captivity be rescued and we are taking all the necessary stops and operations to ensure we have them, indeed, rescued.
That is what we are working on and by the special grace of God, you will hear good news concerning those who are still left behind.”
He stressed the need for effective collaboration between the media and the military towards tackling security challenges in the country.