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Nigeria soldiers arrest Boko Haram commander

The arrest of the Islamist sect's operational commander Suleiman Mohammed, and discovery of arms cache, is welcome news for Nigeria, which has been battling Boko Haram for three years.

By Ibrahim GarbaCorrespondent / May 11, 2012

Kano, Nigeria

Nigeria military task force (JTF) on Friday arrested a high-profile Boko Haram operational commander, along with his wife and five children, during a raid at his residence on Farawa Babban Layi Street in the northwest Nigerian city of Kano.

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The arrested operation commander was identified by Nigerian authorities as Suleiman Mohammed, a Yoruba tribe member from Ogbomosho in  southwest Nigeria. Sophisticated weapons were recovered during the raid, including a rifle, 10 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), three pistols, and 1,000 rounds of live ammunition. No shots were fired during the raid on Mr. Mohammed’s home.

The arrests are welcome news for the government after a spate of high-profile bombings and shootings across northern Nigeria, violence that has claimed thousands of lives since the Islamist group Boko Haram began its rebellion in 2009. Boko Haram, whose official name in Arabic translates as”People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad,” seek to overthrow the secular Nigerian government and replace the current Constitution with Islamic sharia law, at least in the Muslim areas of the north. Recently, Boko Haram spokesmen have offered to open dialogue with President Goodluck Jonathan, but Boko Haram has shown little room for compromise regarding its main mission, and Nigerian military operations against the group seem likely to continue.

State police commissioner Ibrahim Idris confirmed the arrest of the sect leader, adding that “the arrest came after a tipoff by the society agencies, through the information from the general public of suspicious movement of the people into the sect leader house.”

“Yes, security agencies successfully arrested the top sect leader in the state, whom we’ve alleged to be the operational commander of the sect in the state. {The] investigation commences after the arrest,” Mr. Idris told reporters.

He explained that the security agencies suspect the arrested sect leader was behind a series of attacks against security forces, Christian churches, and the killing of other innocent citizens.

Police say that they have recovered more than a dozen IEDs from the premises of  Bayero University since the bomb attack of April 29 at the university.

Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, the spokesman of the joint military task force (JTF), also confirmed the arrest of the sect top profile leader.


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