, KANO, Jan 18 – Nigerian soldiers have arrested six Islamists described as high-ranking members of the Boko Haram sect during a raid in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, an officer said Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Tuesday raided a hideout used by the extremist group — which has claimed a string of deadly attacks in recent days — and defused five bombs across the city.
“We have succeeded in arresting six high-profile members of Boko Haram in a raid on their hideout following useful information provided us by some residents,” JTF commander Victor Ebhaleme told AFP.
He said the six were being interrogated and gave no further details.
In another part of the city, notorious for bomb and shooting attacks blamed on Boko Haram, soldiers defused five bombs.
“We defused five IEDs (improvised explosive devices)… we believe to have been planted by members of the Boko Haram sect which would have wreaked monumental havoc if they had detonated,” Ebhaleme said.
Troops on Tuesday shot dead four suspected members of the sect and injured five others in the same city.
Maiduguri is the home ground of Boko Haram, a shadowy Islamist group blamed for increasingly deadly and sophisticated attacks in recent months.
It is believed to have a number of factions with differing aims, including some with political links, while speculation has also mounted over possible links between the group and Al Qaeda’s North African branch.