NIGERIA’S Department of State Services (DSS) has warned of a plan by Islamic terrorists to launch a bombing campaign over the Christmas period that will involve the targeting of religious places of worship and recreational centres.
In the past, Boko Haram in particular has used Christmas Day as an opportunity to spread terror, detonating bombs in churches while Christian worshippers celebrate. In 2001, the sect carried out its deadliest Christmas Day attack ever, bombing St Theresa Catholic Church in Madala, a suburb of the capital, Abuja, killing 25 people.
DSS spokesperson Dr Peter Afunanya, has assured Nigerians, however that the security forces had taken measures to thwart the plot, which was meant to undermine the authority of the government. He, however, urged patriotic members of the public to remain vigilant during and after the yuletide.
Dr Afunanya said: “The Department of State Services wishes to inform the public about plans by some criminal elements to carry out violent attacks on public places including key and vulnerable points during the yuletide seasons. These planned dastardly acts are to be executed through the use of explosives, suicide bombing and other dangerous weapons.
“The objective is to create a general sense of fear among the people and subsequently undermine the government. On its part, the service is collaborating with other sister agencies to ensure that adequate measures are put in place for protection of lives and property.
“To further achieve this purpose, the service has provided these emergency response numbers: 08132222105 and 09030002189 for urgent contacts. It is also using this opportunity to unveil its interactive website, www.dss.gov.ng, for public communication support.”
He asked the citizens to take advantage of the portal and similar ones provided by related agencies, to provide information to the security agencies. In addition, the DSS further advised those planning to cause chaos and breach of public peace to desist, saying it would stop at nothing to apprehend and bring them to justice.