October 19, 2012

High-profile Boko Haram member arrested at senator’s home

MAIDUGURI  (AFP) – Nigerian authorities said Friday they had arrested an alleged high-profile member of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram at the home of a senator in the violence-torn Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

The statement from a military task force in Maiduguri did not name the senator and provided few other details. There have been allegations of links between elements of Boko Haram and local politicians in the past.

“A high-profile Boko Haram commander, one Shuaibu Mohammed Bama, who has been on the list of wanted terrorists … was arrested by task force troops in a serving senator’s house …,” the statement said of the arrest on Thursday.

Catalogue of attacks blamed on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

– Following are the main attacks linked to the Boko Haram Islamist sect in Nigeria since 2009:

– July 26: Boko Haram launches a short-lived uprising in parts of the north that is brutally crushed by the military in an assault that leaves more than 800 people dead, mostly sect members.

– December 24 and 27: A series of attacks claimed by Boko Haram and reprisals in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the sect’s home base, and the central city of Jos kill at least 86 people.

– June 16: Boko Haram says it is behind a suicide blast against police headquarters in Abuja, in which one policeman dies.

– August 26: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a suicide bombing against the UN compound in Abuja, killing at least 25 people, the first attack targeting the international community.

– November 4: A series of attacks on police targets and churches in the northeastern city of Damaturu claimed by the sect kills at least 150 people.

– December 22-23: Attacks in the cities of Damaturu, Potiskum and Maiduguri claimed by the group along with a heavy military crackdown leave up to 100 people dead.

– December 25: A wave of attacks claimed by the group targeting churches during Christmas services and police leave at least 49 people dead.

– January 20: At least 185 people are killed in the northern city of Kano following coordinated bombings and gun battles, claimed by Boko Haram.

– February 15: Boko Haram claims a raid on a prison in central Nigeria in which 119 inmates are set free.

– April 8: An Easter bomb attack on a church in the northern city of Kaduna claims at least 41 lives.

– June 17: Boko Haram claims suicide attacks at three churches at Kaduna and Zaria, sparking reprisal violence by Christian mobs who burn mosques and target their Muslim neighbours. More than 100 are killed over a week.

– July 10: Boko Haram claims raids by gunmen in central Plateau state on the 7th and 8th which leave more than 100 people dead.

– August 6: Gunmen open fire on an evangelical church during a service in Kogi state in central Nigeria, killing at least 19 people.

– September 17: Nigerian soldiers shoot dead a man suspected to have acted as a spokesman for Boko Haram.

– September 25: Nigeria’s military says that it has killed a senior Boko Haram Islamist leader and arrested 156 suspected members of the group during a weekend raid in northeastern Adamawa state.

– October 11: Nigerian security forces as well as Islamist extremist group Boko Haram may both be guilty of crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch says, adding the death toll of those killed in the violence is more than 2,800 people since 2009.

– October 16: Nigeria’s military says 24 Boko Haram members were killed in violence that rocked Maiduguri, saying the extremists launched attacks with bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.

– October 18-19: Attacks and gun battles between suspected Islamists and security forces in the northeastern Nigerian town of Potiskum kill several people and destroy buildings. Explosions and gunfire are also heard in Maidguri.

“He is in the custody of the (task force) and assisting in the investigation and has since made startling revelations.”

In November 2011, Nigerian secret police said they had arrested an alleged Boko Haram spokesman with ties to a member of parliament. The alleged links however appeared to involve local politics in Nigeria’s northeast.

Nigerian authorities frequently exaggerate their efforts in arresting or cracking down on Boko Haram, which has carried out scores of bombings and shootings.

Violence linked to Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern and central Nigeria, including killings by security forces, is believed to have left more than 2,800 people dead since 2009.