Nigeria’s secret police have arrested several people suspected of links to the Al-Qaeda network in three of the country’s predominantly Muslim states, a spokesman said Monday.
“Our operatives arrested the suspects in Kano, Kaduna and Yobe states in connection with the threat of terrorism,” State Security Service spokesman Ado Muazu told AFP, adding that the suspects had a “link to Al-Qaeda groups”.
He said they also had links to a group known as the Nigerian Taleban. 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 symbolizing 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 around one dozen people.
The group is not known to have any connection to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Muazu said the suspects were 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,” Muazu 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 since the country is home to various armed groups, US officials tend to see the country as being at risk of such activity.