Luck ran out of three suspected Boko Haram members at the weekend in Borno State as they were lynched by an angry mob.
This was as about 50 other suspected terrorists were arrested in the state.
The three suspects came all the way from Bama Local Government and invaded the El-Amin Daggash mosque in the Government Reserved Area, GRA, in Maiduguri, during Tafsir (Ramadan preaching), attempting to kill the preacher, Modu Mustapha.
One of the suspects was killed on the spot, while the remaining two, who were initially arrested, were also lynched later.
A source said the incident happened about 4pm, when the Tafsir programme was going on.
The source added that somebody first sighted one of the terrorists with a pistol sitting comfortably among the congregation and raised the alarm.
He added that immediately the suspect was apprehended, the people around pounced on him and beat him to death.
The other two suspects, who were also inside the mosque, were arrested while attempting to escape and were killed a few metres away from the mosque.
However, the Joint Task Force, JTF, Operation Restore Order in Borno State capital, said there was no attempted attack on any worship centre in the state.
The JTF noted that it was an error of judgement by a policeman on duty that pursued someone who allegedly stole a Keke NAPEP and a bag of rice and drove off towards the said mosque.
Its spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, said in a statement that: “The JTF wishes to clear the air on what happened at the vicinity of El-Amin Daggash mosque in GRA, Maiduguri on Saturday 20th July, 2013.”
“The incident was not a terrorist attack as insinuated, rather, it was an error of judgement by a policeman on duty that pursued someone who allegedly stole a tricycle and a bag of rice and drove off”
“The policeman was in mufti, wore Nigeria Police Force, NPF, reflective jacket, pursued the alleged thief and fired two gunshots.”
Musa said the incident happened very close to the said mosque when Ramadan preaching was on, adding that the firing by the policeman attracted the attention of worshippers, including youths popularly known as ‘Civilian JTF,’ that were within and around the mosque.
He said: “As a result, there was pandemonium that led to the death of one minor while three others sustained injuries.”
The spokesman noted that the vigilantes beat the policeman, burnt the Toyota Carina saloon car, which the policeman was driving and the tricycle, before the JTF patrol team rescued the policeman, calmed the youths and restored normalcy to the area.
In another development, over 50 suspected terrorists were over the weekend arrested in Maduganari ward area of Maiduguri with the assistance of ‘Civilian JTF’ and men of the JTF.