Posted by News Express | 27 January 2014 | 3,138 times
There was tension in security circles in Rivers State yesterday following indications that the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist group may have infiltrated the South-South state. Boko Haram is an Islamic sect usually associated with the Muslim-dominated northern parts of Nigeria, so it came as a shock to see evidence that the group has moved to extend its activities to the Christian South.
The good news, however, is that the police have moved swiftly to uproot the sect. Yesterday 320 persons suspected to be members of Boko Haram were arrested by the Rivers State Police Command, THISDAY reported this morning.
The paper said it gathered that the suspects, men and women, were arrested in the early hours in a convoy of 17 buses at the border between Rivers and Imo states.
“The convoy was said to be led by one Bala Mato Dambam,” the report said, quoting an unnamed source as saying that the buses belong to a transport company owned by a former Inspector General of Police (IG) and had taken off from Jigawa State.
“Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, confirmed the arrest of the suspects but would not state if they were members of Boko Haram until investigations were concluded,” THISDAY reported.
“He said the security of the state was a top priority of the police in Rivers, adding that the command would not take anything for granted,” the paper added.
It quoted Mbu as saying: “It is a top security issue, I don’t know how you got the information and I won’t ask you, but there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers police command until we finish the investigation. I will make no comment.”
THISDAY said that when it visited the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Port Harcourt where the suspects were detained, many of them were sighted sitting in front of the office.
“The police did not allow journalists into the premises as tight security was maintained around the police station,” it said, adding:
“The army high command had last year raised the alarm that members of Boko Haram were infiltrating Rivers State but the state government refuted the claim, stating that the information was capable of creating anxiety in an already tensed state.
“Aside Lagos and Ogun states where suspected members of the Islamic sect have been sighted and arrested, their scourge has been restricted mainly to the northern states, particularly in the North-East region.”
•Photo shows Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu.
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