The deputy chairman of the Muslim community in Aba, Alhaji Musa Iheakaram revealed that the armoured men came with about seven Hilux vans and searched the Mosque for bombs they believe was brought into the place of worship.
He said that the military men also arrested the Chief Imam, Alhaji Idris Bashir; his deputy, Mallam Bello Maija-a and one unlucky youth corps member who taught in a school at the Mosque,
Iheakaram also revealed that the same men had earlier raided Uratta Onion market in Aba and arrested their chairman and secretary Alhaji Ibrahim Bargi and Alhaji Sanni Jos and also took the Yam market chairman Ariaria Junction.
Iheakaram said: “At about 2am, one of my brothers, Alhaji Bala Daura called to inform me about the raid by soldiers from yet-to-be-identified barracks, but before I could rush to the mosque, the soldiers had taken the Chief Imam, his deputy and a corps member away.
“They didn’t end at the Aba Central Mosque. Another information reaching me now is that they equally went to the onions market at Uratta market, searched everywhere in the mosque; they didn’t see that Imam. They took the phones of our brothers that were in that market at about 3a.m. after they left Aba Central Mosque and went away with the chairman of the onion market and his secretary.
“We also learnt that they went to the yam market, where they equally searched and were unable to get anything. They however, went away with the chairman of the yam sellers. The Sarki of Ogbor Hill was also picked by the soldiers when they carried out a similar operation in that zone.”
He explained that the soldier had taken some bags which had chemicals used by students in the Mosque for their practical study, and begged the soldiers to free his brethren taken as there was no reason for the arrests.
The Public Relations Officer of the 14 Brigade of the Nigerian army, Ohafia and the Ngwa High School FOB Commander have failed to give a statement on the arrests.