Residents of Abuja were yesterday thrown into panic after some suspected terrorists injured three soldiers attached to the Guards Brigade at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The troops were on routine patrol on Kubwa-Bwari Road.
The attack came barely 24 hours after the terrorists that claimed responsibility for the March 28 attack on passengers aboard a Kaduna-bound train threatened to abduct President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
Forty-three of the 63 passengers taken into custody by the insurgents are still being held in the forests by their abductors, who have issued a fresh threat to kill some and sell off others.
But yesterday, the negotiator who recently facilitated the release of 11 victims, Malam Tukur Mamu, announced the release of four more hostages.
Tukur, who said he did not know if the relatives paid ransom to the insurgents, gave the names of the freed hostages as Gladys Brumen, Oluwatoyin Ojo, Hassan Lawal and Pastor Ayodeji Oyewumi
Yesterday’s attack forced Education Minister Mallam Adamu Adamu and the FCT Education Secretariat to take preventive actions.
The minister directed the immediate closure of the Federal Government College (FGC), Kwali, and security beef-up around all unity schools.
Also in a statement, the FCT Secretariat directed that the academic session must end tomorrow.
It called on parents and guardians to pick up their children and wards.
Military sources said there were intelligence reports that the terrorists were laying siege on the FCT intending to attack a higher institution and other government facilities in Bwari.
The sources said detectives were on the trail of the assailants.
The FCT Police Command also said: “There is no cause for alarm.”
A source said the troops of 7 Guards Battalion on routine patrol along Kubwa – Bwari road were ambushed by suspected terrorists.
He added that three soldiers injured during the attack were evacuated to the hospital for medical attention.
“The ambush happening within the general area of Bwari shows that the terrorists are actually within the location and possibly to carry out their plans of attacking the Law School in Bwari as earlier reported,” the source said.
Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Guards Brigade, Captain Godfrey Abakpa, confirmed that soldiers were attacked by suspected terrorists.
He added that the injured soldiers were receiving treatment.
Captain Abakpa said: “They were attacked and the attack was successfully repelled. We had a few wounded in action and they have been taken to the hospital and receiving treatments.
“At the moment, our troops are still combing the general area to get rid of the criminals that have been threatening the general area.
“It is advised that residents go about their lawful businesses and keep cooperating with us by giving us timely information to enable us to win the fight against the criminals.”
Fear grips residents
The threats of attack and abduction by terrorists have unsettled Abuja residents.
It was learnt that some communities in the FCT have received communications from the terrorists notifying them of attacks.
Residents of the Sheda community claimed that they were contacted about an attack.
A resident who claimed to be an alumnus of the FGC, Kwali, confirmed that gunshots were heard before the closure of the school yesterday.
It was also widely rumoured that Birgham University has been contacted by terrorists.
The university is located in Nasarawa State, near the nation’s capital.
An unconfirmed report said terrorists were camping on Karshi hill. Residents alleged that the terrorists have hoisted their flag on the hill.
Security has been beefed up around the Nigeria Law School in Bwari.
The FCT Education Secretariat also issued a statement on Monday, informing parents and guardians that the 2021/2022 academic calendar for FCT schools will end tomorrow.
Also, the FCT Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) advised all Junior Secondary schools to end their examinations tomorrow (today).
But the FCT Police Command spokesman Josephine Adeh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said police have no cause to react to the alleged threats, adding that there is no cause for alarm.
Adah said: “We did not issue any statement on this. How can I go and react to what I don’t know? Am I working on the education board? As far as the police are concerned, there is no tension and no situation; no panic.
“We have been doing our job, and we do not know where that one is coming from.”
The Education Minister said the closure of schools became necessary following a security breach on Sheda and Lambata villages, suburbs of Kwali Area Council, which also threatened the FGC Kwali.
According to him, the timely intervention of security agencies saved the situation.
Adamu also directed that arrangements be put in place for final year students to conclude their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO).
The minister directed principals of Unity Colleges across the country to liaise with security agencies within their jurisdictions to forestall any security breach.