Kano: Nigeria has arrested 200 people,
mostly Chadian "mercenaries," after last week`s attacks in the
northern main city of Kano, a police source said on Thursday, as a
fresh blast struck the same area.
The explosion at a Kano bus terminal caused no casualties
and its causes were not immediately clear, but it forced the
area to be evacuated, the Army and police said.
The deadliest violence to hit Kano came last Friday, when
coordinated gun and bomb attacks, claimed by the Islamist
group Boko Haram, killed at least 185 in the primarily Muslim
"Many arrests have been made since the attacks," the
police source said on condition of anonymity, referring to the
"We have arrested around 200 attackers and 80 percent of
them are Chadians. They came in as mercenaries."
There were indications the Chadians had been paid to
participate in the recent attacks attributed to Boko Haram,
the source added.
Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of other attacks in
Nigeria, mainly in the north, and security forces have long
suspected it of smuggling arms into the country through the
porous northeastern borders with Chad and Niger.
A UN report on regional security released yesterday said
there was evidence suggesting the Nigerian group had Chadian
members who had received training from al Qaeda`s north Africa
But a Nigeria specialist with the International Crisis
Group (ICG) said it was unlikely the sect had such a high
number of foreigners in its ranks.
"I was shocked to hear that myself. Personally, I don`t
believe it," said Kunle Amuwo of the ICG, when asked about the
police claim that most of those arrested had come from Chad.
"We know some foreigners have been implicated and
continue to be implicated, but that number is huge," he said,
adding that, based on his research in the region, he believes
most Boko Haram members are dejected Nigerian youths.
Nigerian authorities have come under immense pressure
over the spiralling violence blamed on the Islamists and have
in the past been accused of rounding up innocent civilians in
response to attacks.
"Following previous attacks by Boko Haram, the security
forces have often resorted to dragnet arrests, rather than
arresting people on the basis of a reasonable suspicion that
they committed an offence," Amnesty International said earlier
There was no immediate evidence linking Thursday`s blast
at the bus terminal in Kano to the Islamist group.
"We just had an explosion, nobody can confirm the cause.
No loss of life or injuries was recorded. The area is being
evacuated," a police spokesman in the city, Magaji Majia, said.
A witness however claimed two people were injured.
Locals say the area, known as New Road, holds a bus
terminal for people travelling to the country`s eastern