Church bombing suspect arrested in Nigeria
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Last Updated: Friday, February 10, 2012, 23:01
Abuja: Nigerian secret police on Friday arrested a suspected member of a radical Islamist sect who is accused of masterminding a church bombing on Christmas Day last year that killed at least 44 people.

Kabiru Sokoto, a prime suspect in the bomb blast targeting St. Theresa Catholic Church in Nigeria's northern town of Madala in Niger state was re-arrested by State Security Service (SSS), few weeks after he escaped from security agents’ detention.

"He was arrested in his native Taraba state which is near Cameroun's border and will soon be brought to Abuja," presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said.

Sokoto, a suspected member of Boko Haram, is accused of throwing a bomb that killed more than 30 people in the church attack. He had escaped from police custody a day after his arrest.

It had compelled President Goodluck Jonathan to issue a query to the then Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim who was later sacked.

Members of the SSS, who refused to make public statements to the press, confirmed the arrest.

However, an official on condition of anonymity said Sokoto was arrested at this homestead and will not be able to escape a second time.

Boko Haram sect, which wants to install an Islamic government and enforce Sharia law, has been waging a war with the government.

Muslims and Christians constitute about half of Nigeria's 150 million population.

The radical organisation also claimed responsibility for several bombings and shootings in the north and capital city of Abuja.

A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in July killed 26 persons and injured more than 70.

Coordinated attacks in Kano last month left more than 185 persons dead including an Indian from Gujarat.

The sect's leader, Muhammed Yusuf was killed in 2006 during an insurrection which claimed more than 800 lives.


First Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 23:01

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