High drama was witnessed near the integrated checkpost (ICP) at Attari on the border when two Nigerian students from Delhi scaled the 20-foot-high grilled fence in a bid to enter Pakistan on Friday morning.
BSF deputy inspector general (DIG) MF Farooqui said the two, Imran Kabir and Jamilu Sani, aged 24 and 25 years, respectively, were arrested by Border Security Force personnel after a hot chase.
“Both wanted to go to Pakistan for pursuing Islamic studies. Sani had a Nigerian passport, while Kabir didn’t. We recovered five printouts taken from Google maps of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. They described Iraq as their final destination,” Farooqui said.
Adventure at border
Farooqui said that the duo arrived at the checkpost at 5.50am in a stolen Swift Dzire taxi. They had hired the taxi from Delhi and made off with it on reaching Amritsar when the driver, with whom they had had a tiff on Thursday night over the fare, was asleep.
The two, who claimed to be cousins, parked the car near the ICP and enquired about the route to Pakistan. When they were told that the border was closed at that time, they didn’t leave but waited near the car. No sooner did the BSF personnel, who are on high alert, approach them than they panicked and sped away on the road adjoining the checkpost towards Roranwala outpost. The road bisects the Wagah-Attari rail track on which the Samjhauta Express enters India from Pakistan.
BSF personnel chased them but they abandoned the car and managed to climb over the 20-foot-high grilled fence and jump onto the rail track. “Once there, they thought they had entered Pakistani territory and started shouting ‘we are in Pakistan’. They didn’t know that they were still in India,” Farooqui said, adding the BSF personnel managed to catch them.
Headed for Iraq
During interrogation, one of them claimed to be a student of Mahatma Gandhi Open University in Delhi and the other said he studied at Karnataka State Open University, also in Delhi. “Both had come to India on student visa in 2014. They said they were headed for Afghanistan en route to Iraq, which was their final destination. They wanted to pursue Islamic studies in Pakistan before that,” the BSF DIG said, adding they would be handed over to the police after initial interrogation.
A copy of the Quran, mobile phones besides a sum of 4,000 Nigerian Naira, the Nigerian currency, and Rs 500 were recovered from them. No weapons were found.
Visited Golden Temple
The two youth, dressed in tights and long kurtas, looked confident and spoke fluent English. One them sported a black half-jacket.
They said they had come to Amritsar on Thursday night in the Dzire taxi that they hired from Delhi. They visited the Golden Temple too but later had an argument with the taxi driver. They stole the keys on Friday morning while the driver was asleep and headed for Attari.
The BSF is on high alert after the Gurdaspur attack of July 27 and in view of Independence Day next week.