First a correction: I was just informed by sources in Okene that the original Mallam Baba was killed by Mallam Mustafa’s boys on a Jumu’ah (Friday congregational prayers) some years back, that his naib(deputy) who now leads his boys (I don’t know his name yet unfortunately) is now referred to as Mallam Baba as a sign of respect, thus I was not aware that the original Mallam Baba was dead and I wrote last night as if he was still alive. My apologies to all who have been misinformed by that mistake. Much thanks to Abdul whose comments made me first notice the mistake, and to a friend I will call Mr S who helped to correct that mistake.
Moving on, apparently, many takfiris of Okene that were arrested by the DSS, Nigeria’s internal security agency, over the years as a result of either being members or helpers of Boko Haram, including some arrested for carrying out/planning the bomb attacks in Lokoja, Okene and also the Deeper Life Church shooting, are said to have been freed in a prison break that occurred in the past in Kogi State, carried out by the fellows operating in Okene.
These detained persons returned back to their homes in Okene, the very homes they were initially arrested from, after the the prison break and began helping the local takfiris organize an army. They trained the youths and collected money to purchase arms through criminal contacts that they made in prison. They also built a system of camps and safe houses deep in the forested hills around Okene, and were working with the local cells of Shekau and Khalid Al-Barnawi’s factions to improve training.
They were in the process of moving out of the town into the bush to launch their war, when news came to them that the Nigerian Army was going to move on them. So they deployed some of their number to wait and engage the Army when they arrive, which they did. A soldier was killed when the Army tried to storm the mosque of Mallam Baba, and the rest of the troops went on a rampage, using heavy firepower that was said to have been met with the firepower of the takfiris AK-47s, during the gun battle that was also said to have lasted over thirty minutes, reports indicate that a few soldiers were killed before the rest of the takfiris fled in to hills to join up with their comrades.
The Army is said to have launched this operation to arrest the escapees from prison and seize the arms stockpile said to be present in the mosque. While it captured as much as a dozen persons, I do not know yet if any of them are the escapees. It is also said to have recovered an arsenal of weapons stored in the mosque.