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Army detains 11-year-old 'most-wanted' terror suspect

04 December 2015, 08:29

Lagos - An 11-year-old boy has been arrested as a "potential suicide bomber" at a camp for people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict, according to Nigeria's military.

Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said troops detained the youngster at the Dalori camp near the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Tuesday.

"Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was from Bama town and is among four children trained for suicide bombing by the Boko Haram terrorists," he said in a statement on Wednesday night.

"He further added that the three others have already carried out their missions at different locations. His job was to do [the] same in the camp sometime in the future."

Usman did not disclose where the three other children had struck. However, four teenage girls blew themselves up near the town of Fotokol in northern Cameroon on November 21, killing five.

A girl thought to be aged just 11 and an 18-year-old woman killed at least 15 at a busy mobile phone market in northern Nigeria's biggest city, Kano, on November 18.

Boko Haram has in recent months increasingly used suicide bombers in northeast Nigeria, northern Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Most have been young women and girls.

Last Saturday, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in northern Cameroon, killing five and seriously wounding two soldiers.

100 "most wanted"

The previous day, at least 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a Shia Muslim procession near Kano.

Usman said the 11-year-old boy was on a list of the 100 "most wanted" Boko Haram suspects published by the military in October, which has led to a number of arrests.

There was no independent confirmation of the arrest but the claim again underlines the threat posed by Boko Haram to civilians and the displaced living in camps in the northeast.

"Soft" targets such as mosques, churches, markets and bus stations have been increasingly targeted.

On September 11, seven were killed by a bomb left at a camp for displaced persons outside the Adamawa state capital, Yola.

Usman added: "The boy also pointed out one other Boko Haram senior member... at the [Dalori] camp", which he said highlighted the need for proper screening of the displaced people.



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