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Police in Borno arrest four suspected arsonists targeting IDP camp



A potential catastrophe was averted in Borno State yesterday as police apprehended four individuals suspected of attempting to set fire to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.

The arrests took place in Mafa Local Government Area, where authorities received reports of a planned arson attack on the Mafa IDP camp. Acting swiftly, security forces apprehended four suspects: Malum Usman (16), Bulama Bukar (14), Rawa Usman (11), and Babagana Umar (40).

The motive behind the alleged arson attempt remains unclear. Police have not yet disclosed whether the suspects are affiliated with any known militant group or if they acted independently. The young age of three of the suspects raises further questions about their potential manipulation or coercion.

The state Commissioner for Information and Internal Security, Prof Usman Tar, had, on Sunday, March 31, raised the alarm over the matter in a statement, alleging a grand conspiracy involving some NGOs.

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However, parading the suspects in Maiduguri, Thursday, the state command’s spokesman, ASP Nahum Daso, did not mention any NGO for sponsoring the act.

“On the 24th March 2024 at about 10:30am, hunters group of Mafa reported to Mafa division of the police with 3 suspects Malum Usman 16yrs, Bulama Bukar 14yrs, Rawa Usman 11yrs all of Mafa IDP camp that suspects were arrested with matches while trying to set a house ablaze in the camp,” Daso explained.

“Preliminary investigation further revealed that the trio were sponsored by one Babagana Umar a firewood seller at Muna garage area Maiduguri who contracted them to commit the act at the rate of N10,000 the case is under investigation,” he revealed further.

However, the alleged sponsor, Umar, denied sponsoring the youngsters to perpetrate the crime.

“I was arrested while saying my prayers in the Mosque.

“This is a mischief against me. I am yet to even imagine.

“When I was arrested, because I knew I have never imagined attempting to set the Mafa camp ablaze, I proposed to swear by the Holy Quran to prove my innocence; I was not allowed,” he said.

The Mafa IDP camp houses thousands of people displaced by the ongoing insurgency in the northeastern region. An attack on such a camp could have resulted in devastating consequences, with many residents lacking the resources to escape a fire quickly.

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