Nigeria arrests several militants for bomb plots


A number of militants have been arrested who were allegedly plotting to bomb praying grounds and recreation centers as Muslims prepare to celebrate the end of Ramadan, secret police said Friday.

to spokesman Tony Opuiyo told a news conference in the capital, Abuja, that at least three top militants were picked up in connection with the plans to set off bombs in northeastern Maiduguri in the state of Borno -- the birthplace of the Boko Haram insurgency -- and in the states of Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto in the northwest.

"Their aim was to hit on soft targets such as markets, public parks, public processions, recreation centers, as well as worship centers, especially the eid praying grounds and other densely populated areas, during the forthcoming Eid al-Fitr celebration," Opuiyo said.

Noting that the "planned terrorist attacks" in Kano and other states had been "nipped in the bud", Opuiyo said the developments followed the arrest of Yusuf Adamu and Abdumuminu Haladu early Friday in Sokoto.

"Adamu and his accomplice were to command the operation in Kano", he added.

Opuiyo went on to say that the Department of State Services on Tuesday arrested "the facilitator of the Kano attack, an explosive expert by name Bashir Mohammed at Unguwar Barnawa, Shekar Madaki, Kumbatso local government area, Kano State".

"Their plan, together with others now at large, was to assemble the explosives and use them on select targets during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations," he said.

The secret police also warned the Shia against holding the annual Quds Day procession - usually held on the last Friday of Ramadan to show solidarity with Palestinians - following what it called plots by the terrorists to infiltrate their ranks "to unleash mayhem".

Boko Haram, which wages violent insurgency largely in the country's northeast, has a history of attacking soft targets during festive periods.

Nigeria is set to celebrate eid on Sunday or Monday, depending on when the crescent moon is sighted. Abuja has declared Monday and Tuesday as public holidays for the Muslim festivities.

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