German engineer, Raufach Egder, who was kidnapped in Kano on January 26, 2012 was said to have been killed by his captors yesterday during a an early morning raid by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on a house he was being held an the outskirts of Kano.
Security sources said Egder was killed after men of the taskforce had launched a rescue mission at about 7:15am on a two bedroom apartment in Danbare suburb, opposite the new campus of Bayero University Kano, in an effort to set him free.
JTF spokesperson Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, however, said the operation was not planned to rescue the German national, but targeted at “terrorist senior commanders” who were holding a meeting inside the building.
In a statement, Iweha said security forces were not aware of the presence of the German inside the building. He said the JTF men came under fire from the “terrorist elements,” who also threw IEDs at them.
“The security forces responded immediately, resulting in a gun duel that lasted for about thirty minutes. During the encounter, five terrorists were killed,” he said.
The statement said upon search of the premises, “the security forces found the handcuffed, gruesomely murdered corpse of an expatriate, later identified as the German national, Mr Egder, who was kidnapped since January 26th 2012 along Zaria road bye-pass Kano.”
“The German was apparently killed by the terrorists on noticing the security forces,” the statement said.
The statement added that, “The JTF would want to reassure members of the international community and the general public of the determination of the security forces to protect lives and properties of law-abiding citizens. We also continue to thank the good people of Kano for their co-operation by providing prompt information to the security agencies bordering on public safety.
“During a further search of the terrorists’ hideout, the security forces recovered 2 AK 47 rifles, huge quantity of ammunition, 36 hand grenades and Improvised Explosive Devices stored by the terrorists for possible attack against innocent persons and security personnel.”
Corroborating the statement of the JTF, a source close to the office of the National Security Adviser also told Daily Trust last night that the operation was actually not a rescue mission but meant to eliminate top members of the Boko Haram whom intelligence revealed were holding a meeting inside the building.
The source said security operatives believed that 90 to 95 percent of Boko Haram leaders, with the exception of the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, had been eliminated in the operation.
The source said: “Security people got information that the Shurah Council, the highest decision-making body of Boko Haram was meeting somewhere in Kano; that the council consists of all the thinkers, operational commanders, strategists, planners and informers. The security operatives traced the location and members of Joint Task Force (JTF) went there to arrest them.
“They opened fire as soon as the JTF members arrived at the place. The JTF responded with superior fire power. All of them were killed. Only Shekau of all their top leaders was not there.
“We did not know that the German hostage was there, otherwise we would have adopted a different strategy to save his life.
“When they saw that they were overwhelmed and could soon die, they decided to kill their hostage. 90 – 95% of the Boko Haram leaders have been eliminated in this raid. None escaped.
“There is synergy between Nigeria’s security and its foreign partners. They are aware of the operation. Even though it is unfortunate the hostage had died in the raid, German security had commended the Nigeria security forces over the raid.”
However, the source could not say if there is any causality among the JTF forces during the raid. “I don’t have information about that now,” he said.
He said Boko Haram suspects in detention had been volunteering information, adding that it is true as the Minister of Defence said that it was because of that that they are not being tried.
The slain German national Edgar who was working for construction giants, Dantata & Sawoe, was abducted while inspecting a flyover project at Na’ibawa along Kano/Zaria expressway in January shortly after the series of bombings and shootings, claimed by Boko Haram, which killed at least 185 people in the city.
The killing of the German hostage marked the second such incident this year. In March, security forces failed in a bid to rescue an Italian and a British hostage in Sokoto. Their captors killed them before they could be rescued in a joint operation with British security forces.
Edgar’s abductors had reportedly taken him at gunpoint, handcuffed him and locked him in car boot.
A top security source told Daily Trust that the expatriate was disembowelled and shot in the head by the kidnappers, shortly before security men gained entrance into the building yesterday.
Daily Trust also gathered that four suspected abductors and a woman, believed to be the spouse of one of the occupants, were killed during the gun duel, while two residents of the area were also killed.
Residents said the raid had lasted for over three hours, with sounds of machine gun fire and explosives renting the air. While the shootings lasted, military helicopters hovered overhead. Many people, trapped inside their homes, were unable to go to work.
Some residents told our correspondent that they had attempted to flee the area, but were turned back into their homes by security agents who cited safety reasons.
An elderly woman, who did not give her name, said her son was shot in the leg during the fighting. The housewife, whose home lie metres away from the kidnappers’ hideout, said they were attending a naming ceremony, when the news reached them that shootings were going on in their area.
“They also told us that my son, Musbahu, has been shot and was taken to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. That was when we abandoned the ceremony and rushed back home,” she said.
Another woman also said her neighbour’s son who had a mental problem was shot dead during the gunfight.
The women told Daily Trust that they were aware that a couple were occupying the house but they hardly related with people around. “We were sitting outside yesterday evening when he backed his wife on a motorcycle and they went out,” one of them stated. “We didn’t know he was going to bring us this tragedy,” she lamented further.
Also, Daily Trust gathered from a man working in a poultry farm near the house that the occupants of the house were not quite known, even as he said other people usually came to visit them. The poultry attendant said the gun duel between the kidnappers and security personnel scared dozens of his chickens to death.
“Many of the chickens died immediately the shootings started. On our part, we only kept praying and shivering. I thought they wanted to evict us from the area, as my friend said he counted over 30 vehicles conveying soldiers,” he said.
“But the soldiers did not harass us. They only advised us to get inside our homes,” he added.
Other residents who spoke to our correspondent said they were not aware of the presence of a foreigner in the house until after yesterday’s raid.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust observed that parts of the house were destroyed by bullets and explosives, with bloodstains and brain particles painting a corner of the living room in the house.
Many residents said they would not pass the night in the area, fearing that the operation might not have been concluded.
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