Nigerian authorities dismantle Boko Haram cell in Kogi state

Boko Haram.jpg

The Five Accused. Image from Sahara Reporters.

Nigerian State Security Services (SSS) have arrested five suspected Boko Haram members who are accused of planning an attack in the south-central state of Kogi. According to a report in Nigeria’s Channels TV, the men, whose names are Muhammad Nazeef, Umar Musa, Mustapha Yusuf, Ismaila Abdulazez, and Ibrahim Isah, were paraded publicly after their arrest. All five of the suspects are from Kogi state and attended Islamic schools.

The cell’s alleged spiritual leader, Muhammad Nazeef, was arrested in Jos in Plateau state, while the other four were arrested in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. Nazeef is a lecturer in the Department for Islamic Studies at Kogi State University who was educated at Saudi Arabia’s Islamic University of Medina. He denied involvement in the suspected terror cell:

I have never met these people, never in my life. But I know this man (pointing at Mr. Musa). I used to see him in some Islamic activities, I even have one of my messages. He attended twice and I stopped seeing him when I (went) against Boko Haram.

The other four prisoners maintain that Mr. Nazeef is their cell leader.

The discovery of the Boko Haram cell is noteworthy because Kogi, like most of southern Nigeria, has so far been spared the brunt of the Boko Haram insurgency. The terror group’s activities to date have mainly been focused in the under-governed north. In the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe, the government recently extended emergency rule.

Yet Boko Haram is more than capable of attacking farther south, as the terror group showed in August 2011 when a suicide bomber attacked the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, killing at least 18 people and wounding scores more.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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