Army Arrests 486 Boko Haram Suspects in Abia State
Few hours after security operatives detonated improvised explosive devices planted on the premises of a branch of the Living Faith World Bible Church (a.k.a. Winners Chapel) in Owerri, Imo State, the Nigerian army on Sunday arrested 486 suspected Boko Haram members in Abia state.
The news of the arrest heightened fear in parts of the South-East that members of the Boko Haram sect has infiltrated the region.
The suspects, including eight women, were said to have been arrested along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway by soldiers attached to the 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Asa in the Ukwa West Local Government Area on Sunday.
The arrest was made known by the Commander of the 144 Battalion, Lt. Col. Rasheed Omolori, who announced the suspects’ arrest to journalists.
Omolori had told journalists at a news conference that his men intercepted a convoy of 33 buses conveying 486 suspected insurgents aged between 16 and 24 around 3am on Sunday.
The suspects, according to him, claimed to have come from different parts of the North in search of jobs.
He added that two of the 33 buses escaped with their occupants and that the incident had been reported to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
The Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr. Eze Chikamnayo, who was at the briefing alongside the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, said the large number of vehicles conveying the suspects made the soldiers suspicious.
Wondering how such a long motorcade could not be intercepted by security personnel until it reached Abia State, Chikamnayo said it was also baffling that none of the suspects was able to identify the location they were heading for.
He however said that the Army and other security agencies in the state were working to uncover the actual mission of the suspects and those behind their movement.
The commissioner advised every state to work hand-in-hand with their security personnel to check insurgency in the country.
“Every security problem is local and if we handle it locally it will be nipped in the bud,” he said.
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