ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s army has arrested two soldiers allegedly caught trying to ferry a large quantity of arms and ammunition to Boko Haram Islamic extremists, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman said the two were sappers, or combat engineers, who worked in an explosive ordinance unit in the northeast where Boko Haram commits most attacks, and may have trained insurgents in bomb-making.
Some soldiers have told the AP that Boko Haram has infiltrated Nigeria’s security forces and some fight with the army by day and with the extremists by night.
Usman spoke at a news conference where he also reported that in recent days the military has killed 35 extremists and rescued about 300 civilians held by Boko Haram.
His statements come a day after Nigeria’s Secret Service said it arrested an alleged recruiter for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, identified as Abdussalam Enesi Yunusa. It did not give his nationality. The Secret Service said two Nigerians already are training in Libya with IS.
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to IS last year. IS propaganda has urged militants who cannot reach Iraq or Syria to go to Africa and fight in Libya or join Boko Haram, but there has been no evidence of IS fighters in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari declared in December that Nigeria’s military has “technically” won the war against Boko Haram, forcing the militants from towns and villages across a swath of the northeast where they had declared an Islamic caliphate.
Boko Haram has changed tactics, hitting soft targets like remote villages and carrying out multiple suicide bombings in cities. A twin suicide bombing Tuesday killed 58 people in a refugee camp. A Jan. 30 attack on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the command center of the war on Boko Haram, killed 92 people.
HARUNA UMAR, Associated Press
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