Egypt’s security forces detained Kaduna-based publisher Tukur Mamu on Tuesday on suspicion that he had worked with terrorists to kidnap people and deliver the money to them in exchange for their release.
According to certain security officials, Mamu was apprehended because of his “Strong contacts with a terror outfit in the Sinai area in Egypt,” in addition to his ties to rebels in Nigeria. READ MORE
The Sinai Peninsula is the farthest northeastern tip of Egypt, and it shares a border with Israel and the Gaza Strip. Militants remain active and constitute a severe threat to Egyptian security agents and other symbols of Sinai, as they have in Nigeria despite a decline in the number of attacks in recent years.
Mamu has denied any wrongdoing, claiming his trip to Saudi Arabia is entirely legal.
Shortly after his return to Nigeria from Egypt, the Department of State Services (SSS) detained the Kaduna publisher and his family for their roles in the controversial discussions that resulted to the release of numerous abducted passengers of the March 28 Abuja-Kaduna train incident.
Shortly after the Egypt Airline flight that brought him back from Cairo landed at 1:55 p.m. at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), he was seized and taken away by security agents.
It has been reported that Mamu was accompanied on his trip to Saudi Arabia for the smaller Hajj by 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.
When kidnappings occur in Nigeria, officials are sometimes criticised for not doing enough to ensure the safety of the victims’ families, prompting some to resort to extreme measures like paying ransoms in order to save their loved ones’ lives.
It was Mamu’s repeated denials that he had collected ransom from the families of the victims and taken it to the terrorists, despite his public and repeated claims that he had won the release of most of the train victims, that brought him to public attention.
Yesterday, DSS announced that it has taken Mamu into custody. Agency spokesman Peter Afunanya, in a statement, acknowledged this.
“The DSS has been flooded with inquiries about the arrest or lack thereof of Tukur Manu, the so-called Kaduna train hostage negotiator. To clarify, on September 6, 2022, in Cairo, Egypt, Nigeria’s foreign partners apprehended Manu as a person of interest on his route to Saudi Arabia. Today, September 7th, 2022, he was brought back to the country and placed in the custody of the Service.
Nigeria’s armed forces, police, and intelligence agencies have asked its overseas allies to extradite Manu back to the country so he could assist with investigations into a number of high-profile security incidents. “The public should be aware that justice will be served in due time,” he stated.
But Desert Herald’s administration issued a statement last night strongly condemning the detention of publisher Mamu and members of his family.
According to a statement released by Ibrahim Mada, the Head, Special Operations and Production Manager, the Nigerian government had ordered the arrest of Mamu and his family, who were travelling to Saudi Arabia to complete lesser hajj and were scheduled to return on September 20.
Some accounts claim that Egyptian security forces apprehended him as he tried to leave the country, however this is completely false. Our demand is for their unconditional release at this time,” he stated.