World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigerian security forces have arrested a businessman over allegedly playing a key role in the abduction of scores of schoolgirls in the northeastern Chibok town, defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said on Monday.
Babuji Ya'ari was captured after troops successfully busted a Boko Haram intelligence cell headed by the businessman, Olukolade said in a statement.
"A terrorists’ intelligence cell headed by a businessman who participated actively in the abduction of school girls in Chibok has been busted by troops," Olukolade said.
"Ya’ari who is also a member of the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF which he uses as cover while remaining an active terrorist, also spearheaded the murder of the Emir of Gwoza. His main role in the group is to spy and gather information for the terrorists group," he added.
Olukolade said Ya'ari has been involved in the coordination of several attacks on military and civilian targets since 2011, including planting of improvised explosive devices across the restive Borno state.
"The arrest of the businessman who is known to deal in tricycles has also yielded some vital information and facilitated the arrest of other members of the terrorists’ intelligence cell who are women," the spokesman went on to say.
"One of them, Hafsat Bako had earlier escaped to Gombe State to avoid suspicion but was tracked and arrested. Prior to her arrest, Hafsat coordinated the payment of other operatives on the payroll of the group. In her confession, she disclosed that a minimum of N10,000 ($61) is paid to each operative depending on the enormity of his task.
"Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armorer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested. Until their arrest, all the suspects actively operated a terrorists’ intelligence cell in collaboration with others still at large."
He said military operations continue to checkmate the insurgents who have killed over 2000 people this year alone, according to latest estimates.
"In another development, troops deployed in Goniri, Yobe State, over the weekend, had an encounter with terrorists, resulting in casualties on both sides after the attack was successfully repelled," Olukolade said.
On April 14, Boko Haram militants abducted dozens of schoolgirls in Chibok town of Borno. Only about 54 of the girls have returned, while authorities say about 219 remain missing.
The group's leader Abubakar Shekau has owned up to the mass abduction in recent videos, offering to swap the girls for militants in Nigerian prisons.
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in Nigeria's local Hausa language, first emerged in the early 2000s preaching against government misrule and corruption.
The group later became violent, however, after the death of its leader in 2009 while in police custody.
In the five years since, the shadowy sect has been blamed for numerous attacks – on places of worship and government institutions – and thousands of deaths.Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2014, 09:56