Friday, February 10th, 2012
Nigerian authorities have recaptured the top suspect in a Christmas day bombing that killed at least 37 people outside the capital, Abuja.
Government officials say the State Security Service re-arrested Kabiru Sokoto on Friday in eastern Taraba state near the Cameroon border. Authorities say he has been flown to Abuja.
Sokoto is believed to belong to the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the December 25 attack on St. Theresa Catholic Church.
Sokoto escaped from police custody in Abuja on January 17, just one day after he was first arrested. At the time, police said Sokoto was freed by “suspected gang members” as he was being transferred to another police station.
Later, President Goodluck Jonathan pressured the police chief and his top deputies to retire early.
The bombing of the church was one of a series of coordinated attacks on Christmas that killed at least 39 people.
Boko Haram is blamed for hundreds of deaths in bombings and shootings over the past 18 months, mostly in northern Nigeria. Much about the group remains unknown, but it is believed to want wider implementation of sharia, or Islamic law.
President Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in 15 areas as part of his response to the unrest. The president also has deployed extra troops to the north, but attacks have continued.