Abuja: Nigerian police on Saturday announced that they have captured a senior commander of a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram in the northern city of Kano.
According to security sources, Suleiman Mohammed is known to be a leading Boko Haram figure in Kano.
"We made an arrest on Friday based on intelligence reports concerning his hideout and he was arrested successfully with his wife and children in his hideout," Kano state police commissioner Ibrahim Idris told a news agency.
"He is now being interrogated by the security agents. He has been flown to Abuja. He is Suleiman Mohammed, a Nigerian, Yoruba by tribe. He is the operational leader of the sect in Kano."
Idris also said that explosives, ammunition and guns were also recovered at Mohammed's hideout.
Boko Haram is waging a growing sectarian battle with Nigeria's weak central government, using suicide car bombs and assault rifles in attacks across the country's predominantly Muslim north and around its capital, Abuja. Those killed have included Christians, Muslims and government officials.
The sect has been blamed for killing more than 450 people this year alone, according to a news agency’s count.
Diplomats and military officials say Boko Haram has links with two other al Qaeda-aligned terrorist groups in Africa. Members of the sect also reportedly have been spotted in northern Mali, an area where Tuareg rebels and hardline Islamists seized control over the past month.
Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people, has seen anger grow over crushing poverty and corrupt politicians in the north, fuelling resentment against the government and the West in the oil-rich nation.
(With Agency’s inputs)
First Published: Saturday, May 12, 2012, 18:36