Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Nigeria arrests businessman in connection with girls' abductions

Source: Reuters - Tue, 1 Jul 2014 07:48 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-war hum-peo wom-rig
The Abuja wing of the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group prepare to march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, June 30 (Reuters) - Nigerian troops have arrested a businessman suspected of being at the head of a Boko Haram intelligence network that helped plan the abduction of more than 200 school girls in the northeast, the military said on Tuesday.

The man had helped the Islamist militant group plan several attacks, including the killing of traditional ruler the Emir of Gwoza, it said in a statement.

Two women were also arrested as part of the investigation, one of whom was accused of coordinating payments to other "operatives".

A year old intensive military operation against Boko Haram has so far failed to crush the rebels, whose struggle for an Islamic state in largely Muslim northern Nigeria has killed thousands since it was launched in 2009.

The insurgency has destabilised much of the northeast of Africa's top oil producer and biggest economy.

The abduction in mid-April of 276 school girls, 219 of which remain in captivity, has become a symbol of the government's powerlessness to protect civilians from attack.

Defence spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that the arrested man used his membership of a pro-government vigilante group "as a cover, while remaining an active terrorist".

Olukolade said the man had coordinated several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including on customs and military locations as well as the planting improvised bombs.

Violence has been relentless in northeast Nigeria in particular, with hundreds killed in the past two months. There have also been bombings blamed on the militant group in the capital Abuja.

On Sunday, the Chibok community was attacked again in three places. Militants opened fire on churches and homes, killing dozens and burning houses to the ground. (Reporting by Lanre Ola Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Tim Cocks Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus