Nigerian Military Arrests ‘Mastermind’ Behind Deadly Jos, Zaria Bombings

A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group’s ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. (PHOTO CREDIT: Boko Haram / AFP / Getty Images)

The Nigerian military has arrested a man who it says masterminded recent bomb attacks in two different cities that killed at least 70 people.

The suspect was arrested along with two other people at a checkpoint in the northeastern city of Gombe, the military said in a statement Wednesday.

One of the other suspects was shot trying to escape, the military said, without saying whether the shooting was fatal.

The statement didn’t identify any of the suspects by name or give details on why the military believes one of them orchestrated the deadly bombings.

‘Highly placed terrorist’
Military and state security operatives had trailed the man, described as “a highly placed terrorist,” before he was caught hiding in a trailer at the checkpoint, the statement said.

He is suspected of masterminding bombings in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Sunday and in the north-central city of Zaria on Tuesday.

The Jos attacks, one on a restaurant and one on a mosque, killed at least 44 people, according to authorities. The Zaria bombing hit a local government office, killing at least 26 people, officials said.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jethro Mullen

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