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Jos: Bombers linked to Al-Qaeda

There are strong indications that the Islamic fundamentalist group, Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the Christmas Eve multiple bomb blasts in Jos, Plateau State, may have a link to the terrorist group, Al-Qaeda.

Findings showed that the radical group, which posted its claims on its web site, http://mansoorah.net/sb_attacks.php, could be an affiliate of Al-Qaeda as its site has links to the global terrorist group, which has master-minded many bombings in different parts of the world, including the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.

Security sources informed our correspondent on Friday that the manner of the Jos bombings bore the hallmark of Al Qaeda.

This includes the inclination to claim responsibility, multiple and simultaneous bombings with heavy casualties, as well as video postings in Arabic language.

JALJ had said it was operating under the leadership of Abu Muhammad and Abubakar bin Muhammad Shekau, and reminded Muslims that “Allah enjoined them to make provisions for fighting ‘disbelievers,’ since they (disbelievers) are fighting Islam and its faithful

Apart from the Jos attacks, the group, which vowed to sustain the violent attacks on the city, which it named Suldaniyya, said it was behind another blast in a church in Borno State that claimed the lives of four people last Friday.

Checks showed that the web site was created on September 21, 2010 and hosted on a server in Columbus, Ohio, United States with the registered domain name help centre given as http://tucowsdomains.com/.

A probe of the characters behind the group’s web site showed that it was registered by one Aliyu Dahiru of 1234 Dankura Street, Gandun Albasa, Off Zoo Road, Kano, with the domain name of mansoorah.net.

Aliyu also has a Google mail, mdaliyu@gmail.com, with telephone number +1.2348028539. He claimed to have a degree from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi and also has a Facebook account.

A former Security Adviser to the Rivers State Government, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, in a telephone interview, said the group might be affiliated to Al-Qeada and might be on the payroll of politicians, who were bent on destabilising the country ahead of the general elections in order to discomfit those in authority.

He warned security agents to be more pro-active, noting that he had earlier cautioned that the nation might experience more bomb blasts after the Abuja incident, but his advice was not taken seriously by those in authority.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olusola Amore, said the police had arrested seven suspects over the crisis, adding that detectives were making progress in the case.

He stated that investigations would look at the group behind the web site, adding that someone in London had earlier sent him a text message on the sponsors of the web site, which he had forwarded to the Plateau State Commissioner of Police for action.

“We believe the claim may be an attempt to confuse investigations, but we will look at everything pertaining to the crisis including those claiming to be responsible for the incident.

“We cannot rule out the fact that the group may be working with Al-Qaeda or others, but the police have arrested seven persons and investigations will unearth others involved in the crisis,” Amore said.

Meanwhile, the Citizens Popular Party has condemned the bomb blasts in Jos, describing them as outrageous and a wicked Christmas gift to the good people of Plateau State.

It described the incident as an act of terrorism, which he noted, was alien to the culture of the people.

He said that the Abuja bomb blasts, the serial blasts in Delta State and the seizure of explosives in Lagos portended a grave danger to the security, unity and stability of the nation.

The CPP, in a statement by its National Chairman, Mr. Maxi Okwu, urged the police and the operatives of the State Security Service to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them to book immediately.

It wondered why no action had been taken on the recommendations of the federal and state panels set up to investigate the causes of the debacle in the state.

On Christmas Eve, eight bombs were detonated in two locations in Jos as the bombers targeted Christian worshippers.

The first bomb went off at about 7.30 pm, with the rest going off minutes after.

Eyewitnesses said no fewer than 30 people were killed in the quintuple bomb blasts.

Four bombs went off simultaneously at Kabong in Gada Biu area of Jos North, while another one was detonated in front of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Kabong.

No fewer than 10 Christian worshippers were said to have been torn to shreds by the bombs.

The residents of the area were in utter confusion as the bombs went off one after the other, sending them scampering to safety.

It was gathered that three of the bombs were planted inside the Gada Biu Market, at the foot of the newly-inaugurated fly-over, where late night shoppers were trying to get items, especially food for the Christmas celebration.

On the same day, four other bombs went off at Angwan Rukuba, about eight kilometres from Gada Biu.

In both areas, churches and crowded areas, like markets were the prime targets.

Eyewitnesses said that eight bodies were counted in front of the church, while some others were blown off inside the market.

The Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Greg Yenlong, who confirmed the incident, had attributed it to the handiwork of the Al-Qaeda sect in Jos.

Also, on Wednesday, twin bomb blasts occurred in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State just as Britain and Russia joined the international community in flaying the Christmas Eve attacks in Plateau and Borno states.

No deaths were recorded in the Bayelsa blasts, which were confirmed by the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Aliyu Musa.

Before the news of the Yenagoa blasts spread, there were reports that members of an Islamic fundamentalist group, the Jama’atu Alhlus-Sunnah Lidda’ Awati Wal Jihad, had shot three people dead in a hospital in Maiduguri on Tuesday night.

Another blast in Barkin Ladi near Jos on Tuesday was, however, a subject of controversy as the police claimed that the reports on the incident were untrue.

While the reports on Wednesday had it that a bomb exploded killing the bearer before he could reach his target, the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Mr. Abdulramman Akano, had said it was a device used for an experiment by a secondary school teacher that exploded.

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