Nigeria arrests 100 suspected members of violent Islamist sect Boko Haram
Nigeria’s state security service (SSS) has arrested more than 100 suspected members of radical Islamist sect Boko Haram and had foiled a spate of attempted bombings in the past month and a half. Guerrilla attacks on police stations and assassinations by gunmen on motorbikes have killed more than 150 people since the start of the year in the remote northeastern state of Borno. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for much of the violence.
Insecurity in parts of northern Nigeria has rapidly replaced militant attacks on oil infrastructure hundreds of kilometres away in the southern Niger Delta as the main security risk in Africa’s most populous nation in recent months.
“Successful security operations have led to the arrest of some identified key cell commanders and members of the dissident group in Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Yobe and Adamawa,” the SSS said in a statement on Monday, referring to six northern states.
The sect said it was behind a car bomb last month outside the national police headquarters in the capital Abuja and there are fears that it will increasingly trying to operate beyond its home region if not brought under control.
Critics have accused Nigeria’s security agencies of failing to act decisively enough to prevent bombings and shooting by Boko Haram, which has been responsible for almost daily acts of violence in and around Borno’s state capital Maiduguri.