Nigerian police detain al-Qaeda suspects

Nigeria’s secret police have arrested several people suspected of having links to the al-Qaeda network in three of the country’s predominantly Muslim states, a spokesperson said on Monday.

”Our operatives arrested the suspects in Kano, Kaduna and Yobe states in connection with the threat of terrorism,” State Security Service spokesperson Ado Muazu said, adding that the suspects had a ”link to al-Qaeda groups”.

He said they also had links to a group known as the Nigerian Taliban. This Islamic extremist movement first emerged in 2002, calling for a stricter implementation of Islamic sharia law in the 12 states of northern Nigeria that apply it.

Since then it has launched attacks on targets symbolising the Nigerian government, most notably on police stations. In the most recent of these attacks, the group earlier this year razed a police station in the northern city of Kano, killing about 12 people.

The group is not known to have any connection to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Muazu said the suspects are all Nigerians, but declined to disclose how many were arrested or what they were allegedly planning. ”The suspects were arrested with some explosive device materials,” he said, adding that investigations were still going on.

Nigeria has never had an al-Qaeda-style attack, but since the population is roughly half Muslim and the country is home to various armed groups, United States officials tend to see the country as being at risk of such activity. — Sapa-AFP

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