BOKO HARAM IN ABIA STATE: 87 of the people arrested in Abia State have been confirmed as terrorists.
About 87 of the over 486 travellers arrested in Abia State have been identified as members of the insurgent Boko Haram group, a security source told PREMIUM TIMES.
The midnight travelers were arrested on Monday in Aba, along Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway, while traveling from Northern Nigeria to Port Harcourt in several buses.
The Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, had, in a statement on Tuesday, said a wanted Boko Haram suspect was identified during the screening of those arrested. He, however, did not name the suspect.
Mr. Olukolade also stated that those identified as possible security risks or illegal immigrants would be separated from their colleagues for further action.
A top security source, however, told PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, that apart from the one earlier identified, 86 others have been identified as suspected terrorists.
“But to be double sure, we have called for additional screening,” he said.
He confirmed that the suspects were all headed to Port Harcourt when they were arrested. He said that most of them, however, had never been to Port Harcourt before now and some did not even have up to N1,000 on them.
He stated that although no weapons were discovered on them, a certain kind of body marks associated with terrorists was noted on them.
He disclosed that the suspects were being held at 144 Battalion, close to Umuahia in Abia State although the confirmed kingpin has been moved to a different location.
He, however, refused to disclose the name of the confirmed kingpin, saying it could jeopardise investigations, as some persons linked to him might try to escape from the country if his name was mentioned.
“The kingpin is making very useful statements. Initially, he was trying to deceive the interrogators until he was confronted with fresh info,” the source said.
The arrest of the travelers was the first major one of suspected Boko Haram insurgents by security officials in eastern part of Nigeria.
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people since its insurgency began in 2009 and its activities had been limited to Northern Nigeria leading to the declaration of a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. The sect, however, recently threatened to attack other parts of the country.
A social media commentator had warned that: “The next bomb in Nigeria might land in the eastern part of the country.”
The people of Eastern Nigeria are advised to report every strange movements in their vicinity by any strange individual. “Stay alert, it is important you know that your land has invaded by blood thirsty killers and so you must at all times watch out for strangers. Don’t give them the chance to hit on us.” His Royal Highness, Eze Nwosu advised his community against the invasion of eastern Nigeria by members of Boko Haram.