486 ‘Boko Haram militants’ arrested in Abia

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On a day the police said they had foiled a plot to bomb a church Owerri, , hundreds were arrested Abia State, also south-eastern Nigeria.

They were arrested on Sunday along the Enugu- expressway by soldiers attached to the 144 battalion the Nigerian , Asa, Ukwa West LGA, Abia State.

The , aged between 16 and 24, were being conveyed 33 buses when they were stopped at the road between Aro-Ngwa and Imo Gate along the expressway.

Some the buses conveying more were said to have sped off and escaped .

Although they are to be Haram , there is yet no evidence to establish a link between them and the insurgents who have been unleashing violence on several northern states since 2009.

The reportedly claimed to have come from different parts of the and were searching for jobs.

Briefing the on Monday at the headquarters of the 144 Battalion, Asa, where the are being detained, commander of the battalion, Lt. Colonel Rasheed Omolori, said buses escaped with their occupants.

He said the incident had been reported to defence headquarters in . He did not give any other details.

Also at the briefing were the chief press secretary to the governor, Mr. Charles Ajunwa, and the commissioner for information and strategy, Dr. Eze Chikamnayo.

Chikamnayo said the sheer size of the movement made suspicious, adding none of the suspects could identify their destination.

He also wondered how such “a long convoy” was not intercepted before reached Abia State.

The and other security agencies in the state were actively investing the suspects, he said.