The tale of the two Lebanese standing trial before an Abuja Federal High Court for terrorism related offenses took another turn on Tuesday as they told the court that they were interrogated by Israeli Mossad agents while in custody of the State Security Service (SSS).
If their account is true, it will confirm what most Biafrans have long suspected that Israel is in effect working closely with Nigeria. Those working for closer relationship between Israel and Biafra are left baffled as to why this is the case.
The accused persons, Mustapha Fawaz and Abdallah Tahini, who both testified as defence witnesses, narrated to the court how they were at different times interrogated by Mossad agents and ‘a masked white man’.
Mossad is the national intelligence agency of the state of Israel. It is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counterterrorism, among others. Fawaz said during the 14 days he was held, he was interrogated by six Mossad agents and one white masked man ‘with blue eyes’.
He said: “Only one of them told me he was Mossad but I could tell they all were. The only time a Nigerian was present was when they asked for the password to my computer and I requested that DSS6, an SSS operative, be present before I give it to them. “They interrogated me in Arabic even though I told them I wanted to be interrogated in English. They asked mostly on whether I know of any weapons stored anywhere in south Lebanon and if I know the identities of people living in Lebanon who had been trained by Hezbollah. I told them I do not know.”
Fawaz told the court that he was subjected to several polygraph tests and threats by the agents in a bid to ascertain if he was a member of the Hezbollah and if he had knowledge of weapons in Abuja, Kano or Lagos. “They did not allow me to sleep except when they wanted to do the test. I was disoriented. They tied my hands behind my back for so many days, kept hitting me on my shoulder where I sustained a torn muscle and deprived me of my medicine for the reflux condition I have. They also threatened to release me to the Nigerians who will torture me and send me to jail where I will be raped. When they finished the polygraph, they said they knew I was innocent but they were going to make an example of us to the Lebanese who sympathize with Hezbollah.”
Fawaz, who denied being a Hezbollah member or knowledge of the bunker containing a cache of arms discovered by the SSS in Kano, in May, said he could not wish any harm on Nigeria and Nigerians, particularly as he has invested trillions in businesses (Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park) in the country.
SSS operatives had on June 1 raided the Abuja home and business concerns of Fawaz, particularly the popular Amigo Stores in Wuse 2 and the Abuja Wonderland recreation centre. The two business premises have since been sealed off.
During cross examination, he told the court that the single barrel gun found on his Wonderland premises was given to him by his father.
In his testimony, Tahini, who said he belonged to the newspaper circulation section of Hezbollah between 1986 and 1989, said he no longer belonged to the organization.
A prosecution witness had told the court that Tahini had evaded, declaring the $61,170 in his possession at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and attempted to bribe him when he was arrested.
But Tahini told the court that he was arrested before he got to the point where he could declare the money and he did not attempt to bribe the customs officer (the witness).He also denied that the money was in his already cleared luggage but in his hand luggage. Like Fawaz, Tahini told the court he was interrogated by Mossad agents. He said he could tell from their accent.
Earlier, another witness, Joseph Finianos, an attorney from Lebanon, told the court that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization but a resistant movement and a political party resisting Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Meanwhile, the court has ordered, based on agreement of counsel in the matter, that an inspection of Amigo and Wonderland be conducted every Tuesday and Thursday by staff of the company and the SSS.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered that the names of the staff shall be communicated to the SSS a day before the scheduled date as well as time. The case had been adjourned till September 30 for adoption of addresses. On May 31, security authorities disclosed that they had uncovered a large cache of weapons in a specially-built bunker in Kano during an operation which began on May 27. The weapons, recovered in a raid at Bompai area, included anti-tank weapons, guns, bombs, grenades and ammunitions. They were found concealed inside an armoury underneath a living room in the house they said was occupied by a Lebanese.
Commander of 3 Brigade Kano Brig-Gen. Ilyasu Abba and the Kano State Director of State Security Service (SSS) Mr. Bassey Etteng said the weapons were brought in by a Hezbollah cell for use to target Western and Israeli interests. The secret service detained Mustapha Fawaz on May 16 at his supermarket in Kano before the raid. Later, Abdullah Tahini was arrested at Kano airport with $60,000 cash. The third accused, Talal Roda, a Nigerian and Lebanese citizen, was arrested at the house where the weapons were found two days later.