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5 Suspected Boko Haram Arrested for Nigerian Bus Bombing

  • Heather Murdock

A crowd gathers at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.

A crowd gathers at the scene of a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Nyayan, Abuja, Nigeria, April 14, 2014.

The Nigerian government is offering a $150,000 reward for information useful in the search for two men they say masterminded an attack on a bus station that killed 75 people last month in the Nigerian capital. Authorities have five other men in custody on charges related to the attack.

The Nyanya bus station was bombed April 14 as suburban commuters loaded into buses and minivans to head to work in Abuja.

Later that day the news began to circulate that hundreds of teenage girls had been kidnapped in the northeast, far from the Nyanya bombing.

Boko Haram

  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a nonviolent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed tens of thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
It was the first attack on the capital in two years, and the bloodiest in the city’s history. Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing and the kidnapping. Two weeks later, the bus station was bombed again, killing 19 more people.

Addressing journalists on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s State Security Services Spokesperson Marilyn Ogar said “Nigerian security forces shall not rest on their oars until every individual or group of persons involved in the Nyanya bombings are brought to book.”

Before bringing out five suspects to be photographed and questioned by journalists, she said the suspects were told the bombing was in retaliation for the killing of a Boko Haram member the week before at the bus station.

But she said that killing never happened. She said security forces are still searching for the alleged “masterminds” of the first Nyanya bombing: Rufai Abubakar Tsiga and Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, a U.K.-born son of a retired colonel who was previously arrested on terrorism-related charges.

But she said lower level Boko Haram militants are still hiding among the population in Abuja.

“Terrorist elements are disguising daily by taking up various businesses and menial jobs in Abuja and its environs. Therefore security awareness of the public and prompt response to information sharing will continue to play a pivotal role in the war on terror,” said Ogar.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in five years of insurgency, in attacks on churches, mosques, schools, markets, villages and the government.

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