Tukur Mamu, the publisher Desert Heral was arrested on Tuesday by security operatives in Cairo, Egypt for his alleged involvement in collecting ransom and taking same to terrorists in exchange for kidnapped victims.
According to Daily Trust, Some of the security sources said beyond his relationship with insurgents in Nigeria, Mamu was also arrested because of his “Strong ties with a terror group in Sinai area in Egypt”.
Sinai Peninsula is the northeastern extremity of Egypt and adjoins Israel and the Gaza Strip on the east. Like in Nigeria, despite the decrease in the frequency of attacks in recent years, militants remain active and pose a serious threat to Egyptian security operatives and other symbols of Sinai.
Mamu denied wrongdoing saying he was on a legitimate journey to Saudi Arabia.
The Kaduna publisher, who was involved in the controversial negotiations that led to the release of several abducted passengers of the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train attack, was arrested together with his family by operatives of the Department of State Services (SSS) shortly after he was repatriated to Nigeria from Egypt.
He was arrested and whisked away by security operatives shortly after the Egypt Airline, which returned him from Cairo touched down at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) at 1:55pm.
Family sources said Mamu, who was on his way to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj was travelling alongside his two wives; Fatima Bashir Mamu and Aisha Salisu Mamu as well as his eldest son, Faisal Tukur Mamu, and his brother-in-law Ibrahim Hassan Tinja.
Nigerian authorities have been accused of not doing enough to secure the release of kidnap victims whenever such incidents occur, a development that makes it necessary for desperate families to devise other means, including ransom payments to liberate their loved ones for fear of being killed.
And this is what brought Mamu to the limelight as he openly and severally declared that he secured the release of most of the train victims even though he persistently denied collecting ransom from families of the victims and taking them to the terrorists.
He’s in our custody – DSS
The Department of State Services (DSS) said yesterday that Mamu is in its custody. Peter Afunanya, the spokesman for the agency confirmed this in a statement.
“The DSS has been inundated with enquires in respect of the arrest or otherwise of Tukur Manu, the self-acclaimed Kaduna train hostage negotiator. This is to confirm that Manu, as a person of interest, was intercepted by Nigeria’s foreign partners in Cairo, Egypt on 6th September 2022 while on his way to Saudi Arabia. He has since been returned to the country, today, 7th September 2022 and taken into the Service’s custody.
“The act followed a request by Nigeria’s military, law enforcement and intelligence community to their foreign partners to bring Manu back to the country to answer critical questions on ongoing investigations relating to some security matters in parts of the country. The public may wish to note that the law will appropriately take its course,” he said.
However, in a statement last night, the management of Desert Herald condemned the arrest of its publisher, Mamu, alongside some of his family members.
The statement issued by the Head, Special Operations and Production Manager, Ibrahim Mada, alleged that the security operatives only acted on an order by the Nigerian government to arrest Mamu and his family who were on their way to Saudi Arabia to perform lesser hajj and were billed to return on September 20.
“The allegation according to some sources that he was arrested by security operatives in Egypt for fleeing the country is unfounded and baseless. We hereby demand for their immediate and unconditional release,” he said.