News / Africa

Mass Arrest in Nigeria Amid Fears of Growing Insurgency

Abuja, NigeriaAbuja, Nigeria
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Abuja, Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria
Heather Murdock
— The Nigerian military has arrested more than 400 people traveling in southern Nigeria on suspicion they are members of the radical group Boko Haram.  
 
The men, and reportedly a few women, were traveling in more than 30 buses when they were stopped by the army Sunday and detained at an army barracks in Abia state.  

Local officials said they were suspected of being members of Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent group that has killed thousands of people in the past five years, mostly in the far northeast of the country.
 
But on a scratchy phone line from the southern city of Port Harcourt, Balamato Danbam, a traditional leader from the north, says the travelers were traders, looking to do business in the south.
 
A church bomb in another southern city over the weekend again raised fears that Boko Haram is seeking to operate in the south.  
 
Meanwhile, in the north, another attack was reported, with more than 20 people killed Sunday in the village of Daku.

More than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April remain missing, despite pledges from Nigerian authorities and governments around the world to free them.  

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Chris Smith, spoke recently in Abuja.

“Boko Haram is a lethal force," Smith said. "They have grown in capability and weapons and the ability to evade detection.  The effort will be protracted.  No one is going to let up until the girls are released and until this violence is ended.”  

Other visiting members of Congress said the United States is providing training and intelligence to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram and find the girls, but has not discussed placing “boots on the ground.”   
 
Several countries have designated Boko Haram a terrorist organization, including the United States, Britain, and Nigeria.  But analysts say mass arrests in the south, far from the insurgency, usually do not lead to convictions.  

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta.

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Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 17, 2014 2:21 PM
"These arrests usually lead to nothing", summarizes it all about Nigeria. Even the so-called extradition pursued in Khartoum leads to nothing at the end of the day, if not to bring the culprit home only to unleash him on the unsuspecting populace. Look at the impunity with which the boko haram-prone states operatives are maneuvering; look at the gut with which they operate as if nobody is in charge in the country. Yet Jonathan wants to unleash himself on the country come 2015.

Now what do these countries mean they want to help bring home the girls and nothing is coming out of it? We have witnessed an unprecedented visit of vultures in the name of diplomacy to free the girls - makes me wonder if they mean well for the country and yet with all the technology, military and social advancement, they have not as much as scratched the search on the surface. Are they the problem, or are they contributing to the problem, or are they helping the problem?

In Response

by: Mazi from: Enugu
June 18, 2014 2:46 AM
The prayerful wishes of very many nigerians in the sourth east is that the government should forget their 2016 political ambitions and institute a security check on the now suspected program of the bokoharam to establish another zone on the bad roads hidden area south of the Ohafia President Goodluck Jonathan Millitary Baracks. Bokoharma are suspected by the people to be moving to take over the barack. This will create them the whole of that southern zone as they have earned in the northeast. we need an emediate repairs on the roads from the burack to the downsouth which is now tends to sute bokoharam suspected movement.

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