The families of the 13 persons arrested during an army raid in Hotoro, Tarauni Local Government Area in Kano state, Northwest Nigeria, have insisted that those arrested have no ties with Boko Haram.
According to eyewitnesses, Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Mosque was stormed by security personnel, including military officers and Department of State Services (DSS) operatives on Saturday, May 8, around 6:40 p.m. where they arrested worshippers and passers-by.
Eyewitnesses told HumAngle that the operatives conducted a short search operation in the house of one Alhaji Usman, the prime suspect, and his mother’s house but found nothing except Qur’an and other Islamic books.
However, according to them, the security operatives arrested 13 people, including people who lived in neighbouring houses, and promised to release them after investigations were concluded, but none of the detained has been released as of press time.
Ummulkhair Aminu, a pregnant wife of one of the arrested persons, said her husband, Jabir Kaoje, was about to enter his house when he was whisked away.
She told HumAngle that her husband did not pray at the mosque that day. He was returning to break his fast at his home when the army asked him to join other arrested suspects.
“When I saw that, I asked them where they were taking him to but they said I should not worry because they would release him very soon,” she said.
“While waiting for him to return, I shockingly started hearing radio stations reporting that Boko Haram members were arrested in Hotoro. It was shocking for me.”
“I don’t even know where he is now. Our two kids are asking where their father is. I’m pregnant. I don’t know what to do,” she concluded, crying.
Faiza Idris, the wife of Kabiru Abdulrazak who was also among the arrested, said her husband heard some noises and went out to see what was happening when he was asked to join the queue of the suspects.
“He came back from his working place and was about to break his fast. He ate some of what I cooked for him and said he would go out see what was happening and pray,” Idris said.
She also said that she became shocked when she heard that her husband was arrested trying to plant a bomb.
“Even if they release him now, they have already damaged his name. By the way, we don’t even know where they are,” she said.
She told HumAngle that her aging mother-in-law collapsed when she heard about it because she was already sick with high blood pressure.
A brother to the prime suspect said the search operation conducted in his house revealed nothing. “We are peaceful students of Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, the Chief Mufti of Nigeria. We are never known for waging violence or plotting one,” he said.
He associated the suspicion with how people see them because they migrated from Borno to Kano state. He added that even if someone directed the security men to conduct the operation, he gave them false information.
HumAngle reached out to the Nigerian Army Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, who said he was aware of the operation but was not briefed about the ongoing investigation.
He directed HumAngle to the Army Brigade in Kano State for further clarification, but our attempts to reach the Brigade proved abortive.
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