June 9, 2013 – Lebanese Man, Hezbollah Terrorist Weapon Smuggler Arrested In Kano State, Nigeria
On May 28, 2013, security operatives uncovered an underground armoury in Kano, following a raid on a building in the highbrow area of the ancient city.
The house, which belongs to one Abdul Hassan Taher Fadlalla, a Lebanese, turned out to store a huge cache of arms and ammunition allegedly meant for a planned attack on Israeli and western interests in the country.
Checks by Sunday Sun revealed the aftermath of the arms discovery, the peculiar life of the Lebanese community and its overwhelming influence in Kano state.
Inside House No.3 Gaya Road
House No 3 Gaya Road belongs to Abdul Hassan Taher Fadlalla, a Lebanese who is currently out of the country. The white fence facing the street and a plain mosque primed to the wall, suggested an ‘innocent’ abode but the seeming innocence was shattered by the shocking find.
The Kano State Director of State Security (DSS), Mr Eteng Bassey, told journalists soon after the raid, that the discovery was after “a thorough” search.
“We had to search the roof, check the chairs and every place including the kitchen. Every place in this premise was checked”, he stated.
The veranda of house was bare, but for a few disfigured furniture that are scattered on the floor and a lone tree that stood by the right side shadowing the compound.
Something eerie hits one at the entrance of the door to the bedroom as the front door is made of steel, complimented with reinforcements at various points. The door yields through a line of pathway, direct to the bedroom and like most of the rooms, the bedroom is barely alight, and in the shadowy gaze, is a white wardrobe on the left.
Mr. Eteng said: “In this wardrobe, which you see here, it is expected that the inside of the wardrobe stops here, but that is not the case.”
Inside the wardrobe is a pale compartment housing a small bunker, stored with weapons in neatly arranged coolers. Next, is a colourful bedroom that has a bigger bunker buried beneath the earth.
“As you can see at the window, there is reinforcement there. When we checked on the roof, we realized that you can move through all the parts of the room through the roof, but in this particular area, the roof taking us to this area, had been neatly blocked. In order words, there is no way you can use the main building to come into this area.”
“This master bedroom is supposed to be a normal place which has normal tiding and is supposed to be a prayer room, but what is most of interest is that we discovered that in this prayer room, there are other things that are around here”.
“When we started digging, we met the first layer. After the first layer of concrete, we met the second layer and yet we continued. After the second layer of concrete, we met the third layer and it was at this layer of concrete that we now ran into a slab and it was there that we stepped into a big bunker and inside that bunker, you have neatly arranged coolers. Inside these coolers, we discovered various weapons”, he stated.
A source hinted that like all terror-compromised structures, the house would be pulled down in due course. He explained that the house had survived so far partly because the security agencies were expecting some policy makers and National Assembly members to visit the scene.
Some of the ammunition were rusted, their age unknown and the date of their importation to the country a mystery. But make no mistake, the ammunition were found to be in deadly shapes and could wipe out thousands in a matter of minutes.
A source told Sunday Sun that several of these weapons had so far been oiled, tested and found to be as effective as newly manufactured weapons.
The DSS boss confirmed their effectiveness when he stated that, “ you can see the ones which are rusted, but I tell you everything you see is deadly and it has the capacity, that if unleashed on human beings, has the capacity to cause a lot of destruction for this country.”
Security sources told Sunday Sun that they had information that the suspects serviced the weapons periodically.
A further search of the same building a few days later, led to the discovery of another set of hidden weapons dug out of a slab. The spokesman of the Joint Security Task Force in the state, Captain Ikedeche Iweha, said the weapons were 80 explosive indicators, five PPK pistols, 334 rounds of 7.62mm special, nine magazines, four pistol silencers, 18 nos. of 36 hand grenades caps, four explosive fuses and two explosive devices.
Investigation and arrests
So far, not much is known about the ongoing investigations, beside the fact that the weapons belonged to a cell of a terrorist organization in Lebanon identified as Hizbullah Terrorist Group. It is believed that security agents are digging into the actual motives for the arms dump in the state, beyond what the suspects had confessed.
Sources believed that investigators might find out the nature of the terrorist cell and determine its spread in the state and across the country.
So far, those arrested in connection with the dump include Mustapha Fawaz, the co-owner of the popular Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja, who was picked up on May16, 2013.
His arrest and confession led to the interception of a member of the syndicate, Abdullah Tahini, a Lebanese, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, while on his way to Beirut. On May 26, 2013, security agents also arrested one Talal Roda, a Lebanese with Nigerian Passport in the said house and whose confession might have led to the search.
It was gathered that at least three other suspects of Lebanese’ extraction have been taken into custody even though one of the key suspects was yet to be nabbed. A source told Sunday Sun that it was unclear if he was still in the country.
Soldiers on the alert
Meanwhile, soldiers and plain-clothed security personnel have been deployed to all links to Gaya Road. Their exact number could not be verified, but over 10 Hilux vans belonging to the sarmy have been stationed at different posts of the street ever since the discovery of the weapons.
Also, traffic along Gaya Road has been light and restricted to the immediate residents of the street. Everybody else, including street hawkers, seems to understand that there is a serious business on that road.
Smuggling in the North
A highly dependent source told Sunday Sun that illegal traffic of goods into and out of Nigeria through the northern borders booms and posts a near-helpless case.
The source stated: “ There are several routes through which you can smuggle contrabands into Nigeria through the northern borders and what is tragic is that only a few of these several smuggling routes, are manned by security operatives. The implication is that illegal goods could be ferried into the country through the borders”
The source added that the porous borders could also be a consequence of official compromise, pointing that a certain personality has been linked to most smuggling activities in the area and till date, his goods and trailers are usually cleared.
Lebanese community in Kano
he Lebanese community in Kano State is a sizable population, and had consistently grown in number in the last few years. Some of them have been resident in the state for so long and have since naturalized. Some were born in the state to parents who arrived in the country since the colonial times. consequently, they are familiar with the terrain of the state.
The Lebanese in the state are generally a very private people. They hardly mix outside their clan or relatives. They own a club, Lebanese Club and a school, Lebanese School, all of which are, to a great extent, exclusive to their people and children. Most of their adults are merchants or manufacturers. They rule the world in the marketing of textiles, confectionaries, super markets and the likes, while a few of them are in the hospitality industry.
The Lebanese in Kano are also a very smart people that understand the psychology of the average Nigerian. Generally, they are rarely on the wrong side of the law, and this is partly because long ago, they learnt that in a strange town, they must befriend the powers that be.
Thus, they are friends to top politicians such as ministers and governors as well as captains of industry and traditional rulers. Security sources confirmed that as a matter of tradition, they, as individuals or as a group, deploy subtle overtures and overt compromises to officials of government where and when the need arises.
For instance, it is public knowledge that not a few past and present heads of agencies in the state benefit from discounted rates or entirely free accommodation in the hotel of one of the godfathers of the Lebanese community in Kano state.
Some of these compromises, sources said, mean that very often, those who are supposed to watch the back of these Lebanese and check their games sleep even in the face of glaring misdeeds by the aliens.
[Source: Sunday Sun]