THE police command in Rivers State on Sunday said its men had arrested 320 persons suspected to be members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The suspects were said to have been in a convoy of 17 buses when they were nabbed at about 5am on Sunday between the border of Imo and Rivers states. Young women were said to be among the arrested suspects.
The convoy of the suspected insurgents was said to have been led by a man identified as Bala Dambam and they were said to be coming from Jigawa State, in buses belonging to a transport firm owned by a former Inspector General of Police.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, who confirmed the arrest of the suspects, said he would not make any comment until the end of police investigation into the matter.
Mbu said, “It is a top security issue. I don’t know how you got the information and I won’t ask you. But there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers State Police Command until we finish the investigation.
“The issue of Boko Haram is a very sensitive matter. It borders on national security. Investigation is on-going and the Rivers State Police Command will not give out any information until investigation is concluded.
“Boko Haram is a highly sensitive issue of state policy. Investigations into matters that have to do with Boko Haram are conducted with utmost sensitivity.
“At this moment, the Rivers State Police Command has no information for the media or for anyone who is not involved in the investigation. And I will not offer you any comments whatsoever.”
The police did not allow journalists to sight the arrested suspects.
Some residents of Port Harcourt, who heard about the arrest of the Boko Haram suspects, expressed fear that the group had finally found their way into the state.
A student of the University of Port Harcourt, Magnus Ndele, told The PUNCH that the presence of Boko Haram members in the state was a looming danger.
“Boko Haram means danger to all of us in this state. We hear how they throw bombs and many lives are lost. The police and other security agencies should do more to ensure they stop the operation of the group anywhere in Rivers State,” Ndele said.