No secret talks with FG -Boko Haram
…As sect restates condition for dialogue
•Stampede in Kaduna over bomb hoax
From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri and NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
Wednesday February 22, 2012

Boko Haram yesterday denied ever holding talks with the Federal Government as widely reported. The Islamist sect insisted there would be no basis for dialogue until all its detained members are released even as Kaduna residents scampered for safety over a bomb hoax.

Its spokesman, Abu Qaqa, was reacting to the Monday’s deadly attack at the Fish Market along Baga Road, Maiduguri, Borno State. There was a shoot-out between the Joint Task Force (JTF) soldiers and members of the sect. Unconfirmed reports said no fewer than 30 people were killed at the market while the JTF claimed eight Boko Haram suspects were killed.

The Islamists went to the market to retaliate last Thursday’s arrest of their member. Their return to the market yesterday led to the gun duel with soldiers.

Abu Qaqa, who has continued to maintain that he remains the spokesman of the sect, claimed that none of the members of the Islamist militia was killed, insisting that the military killed innocent people and not “our members as claimed.”

“We attacked the Baga Fish market in Maiduguri on Monday in revenge on the traders there, for assisting the military in killing one of our members. We have warned that our target is the military, police, government officials as well as non-Muslims. But any one that assists the security forces to identify our members or harm our members will automatically be a target,” Qaqa disclosed.

He said: “None of our members was killed; we went into the operation and came out unscathed. All our members that went into the operation returned to base safely. If the military claims to have killed our members, let them show the world their corpses.”

He also claimed the Baga Fish market attack might have led to the killing of many of the traders.  “We know many people have been killed as a result of our multiple bomb attacks in the market. No one can dispute that we did kill many of them that we identified as those that carried out treachery against us.
“We will tell you the actual number but we are sure many people died. It was a warning to all not to aid or join forces with the security agencies against our group,” he said.

He also denied that the group was in secret talks or any form of dialogue with government as widely reported in the media. “We have never had any dialogue with government and we will not do that soon until all our arrested members are released unconditionally. If all our men are released, then, we can bring out five of our representatives to meet the government for discussion. This is our position,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kaduna metropolis has been witnessing attacks by Boko Haram, a development that made the residents jittery. There was a scene at a mosque in the metropolis yesterday when a worker in the mosque at Angwan Saki area found an object suspected to be bomb at 8 am.
He was said to have raised the alarm, drawing the attention of the people to the scene.

But on sighting the suspicious object, the eyewitness added that the people started running, for their safety, just as some of them were said to have contacted the police immediately.
Police and anti-bomb experts, it was gathered, attempted to demobilize it.
It was later discovered to be a bag containing some clothes and wears which must have been kept there by unknown person.

The state police spokesperson, DSP Aminu Lawan, said “there was no shooting at the object, but it was blown off by anti-bomb experts. They have a way of doing their things.
“The object was discovered to be a black leather bag containing some clothes, but out of fear, people around the area started running from the area.”

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