Security operatives evacuate plaza occupants
AN alleged fresh threat by Boko Haram sect that it will attack the Ambeez shopping plaza in Abuja may have created panic among residents of the city.
Security operatives Thursday stormed the plaza located in Zone five, Wuse district and ordered the occupants to vacate the premises.
Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members on Wednesday evening kidnapped two businessmen (names withheld) in Gambouru border town of Ngala Local Council of the state and whisked them away to unknown destination.
The threat letter, which was obtained by The Guardian, was said to have been written by an insider who claimed he is now a changed man.
The letter reads in part: “This is to inform all occupants of Ambeez plaza that a threat letter has been sent to this plaza that all occupants should be very careful if possible stay out of the plaza for the next three days starting from Monday to Thursday.”
The author of the warning letter cautioned the occupants not to treat the letter with levity saying, “please don’t toil with this vital information … like those in Emab plaza that got insight and still stayed until many died.
In revealing his identity, the writer, who said he is close to the planners of the dastardly act, claimed he is now a child of God.
He urged occupants of the plaza to call the attention of the police in case they come across bags on the floor, saying that is the means through which the planned attack would be carried out.
He added: “… because that will be the means of bombing Ambeez plaza. Security should start serious search of lady handbags, cars and pockets of all that come in throughout this period because the information is crucial. Don’t call this rumour and risk your life please be careful many have gone, don’t be victim of careless acts. … I am talking from inside the house of those making this plan but am now a child of God but am still with them exposing them in secret so l am revealing this to all especially children of God ahead of time for caution to be taken by all that are wise.”
One of the occupants who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity said: “We got the letter on Monday and that sent jitters down the spine of everybody in the plaza. In fact, some people have even started packing out of the plaza. I think that security authorities are on top of the situation now because some of them came and ordered everybody out of the plaza now. With this evacuation, you can imagine how many people will be thrown into unemployment market. Besides, there are many families that will find survival hard by the reason of suspension of business in this plaza.”
This comes as security operatives have cordoned off a popular fresh fruits centre popularly called “farmers market”, which is about 500 meters away from the Inspector General of Police residence.
One of the sellers who called himself Seidu, while lamenting the closure of the market said: “It is very unfortunate that this kind of thing is happening in our country. Most of us selling fruits here are from the North coupled with the fact that this place is not far from the house of the Inspector General of Police, it is a surprise that this kind of thing can happen here. Who is Boko Haram fighting? What do they want? We do not know who Boko Haram is fighting.”
The action followed a discovery of a rumoured bomb in the area, which was detonated by the police.
The bomb scare has resulted in panic by most Abuja residents who have resorted to going to shopping centres either in the early hours of the day or early evening when most of the shopping centres are scanty.
This development is also affecting nightlife as most night clubs are now groaning over poor patronage as most of the residents have chosen to stay away from fun centres due to fear of by Boko Haram.
Not only are nightclubs recording low sales, even gardens where workers relax or while away time to evade heavy traffic especially on Nyanyan road, have been abandoned.
According to an eyewitness in Gambouru, the gunmen stormed a market in Hilux vehicles and bundled the businessmen into a vehicle and sped off without firing a shot.
Confirming the incident Thursday in Maiduguri, military sources also said that there was also an attempt of terrorists’ attacks on Gambouru on Wednesday night.