MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – A businessman has been arrested on suspicion of being the head of a Boko Haram intelligence network that helped plan the abduction of more than 200 girls, Nigeria’s military said Tuesday. The man had helped the Islamist militant group plan several attacks, including the killing of traditional ruler the Emir of Gwoza, it said.
Major-General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that the suspect used his membership of a pro-government vigilante group "as a cover, while remaining an active terrorist." Two women were also arrested as part of the investigation, one of whom was accused of coordinating payments to other "operatives." Boko Haram’s struggle for an Islamic state in largely Muslim northern Nigeria has killed thousands since it was launched in 2009. The abduction in mid-April of 276 girls, including 219 remaining in captivity, has become a symbol of the government's powerlessness to protect civilians.
First published July 1 2014, 2:53 AM