Tuesday, 1 April 2014

SSS interrogates detained Boko Haram suspects

State Security Service (SSS) officials are questioning detained Boko Haram suspects to ascertain if external collaborators were involved in Sunday’s failed —and bloody —jailbreak.
Twenty-one suspects died in the attempted jailbreak at the Abuja SSS facility, according to the Service.

Some suspects, especially passers-by, arrested within the vicinity of the SSS Asokoro headquarters have been released – in line with the Service’s “respect for human rights”.
It was learnt that some of those arrested had valid identification cards and they were passers-by.
A new framework put in place by security agencies triggered the intervention of soldiers during the jailbreak.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said the Service had started finding out the remote and immediate causes of the botched jailbreak.
The source said: “We are de-briefing all the detainees to determine how the plot was hatched and if external collaborators were involved.

“We may also look into the likelihood of internal collaboration, although the strict system of recruitment might make it impossible. This is the only service that conducts serious security checks before employing its operatives.

“What we are doing involves interaction with these detainees by a team of officials, who have been mandated to dig deeper into the foiled jailbreak.”

On the proposed Board of Inquiry into the incident by the Presidency, another top security source said: “It is a routine thing in a crisis situation like this; it is not an indictment of the SSS. It is also not prejudicial to any internal investigation of the jailbreak by the SSS.
“The audacity of the Boko Haram detainees accounted for the Board of Inquiry option so as to prevent a reoccurrence in any security agency or military facility.

“Beyond the outcome of SSS investigation into the incident, the Board, which may comprise sister agencies, is to examine all particulars concerned with any event or challenge.”
Regarding the intervention of soldiers at the SSS facility, the source said: “The fact is that there is a new security framework in place to promote inter-agency cooperation.
“Once there is any challenge in any military formation or security agency, the new framework will trigger alarm for Rapid Response by other sister agencies.
“The soldiers merely responded to this alarm on Sunday by coming to the SSS headquarters. This is the technical or security justification for soldiers’ intervention. It is not as if the SSS was incapable of managing the situation.

There were indications last night that some suspects around the SSS headquarters, who were arrested in Abuja on Sunday, have been released based on the service’s respect for human rights.

Another source said: “Some of these suspects were passers-by but they have been released after due checks and frisking were conducted by the service.
“Since he came on board, the SSS DG, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong places premium on human rights and engagement in line with international best practices.”

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