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Secret police: 5 sect members arrested over bombings targeting Nigeria election office, church
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) ' Nigeria's secret police announced Tuesday that they arrested five suspected members of a radical Muslim sect accused of bombing an election office and a church near the oil-rich nation's capital.
Those arrested belong to the terror group known locally as Boko Haram, Nigeria's State Security Service said, the same group which claimed responsibility for the Aug. 26 car bombing that killed 23 people at the United Nations' headquarters in Africa's most populous nation.
The two bombings struck Suleja, a city in Niger state only a short distance from the country's capital of Abuja. On April 8, just before the nation's National Assembly elections, a bomb exploded at an office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, killing at least eight people. On July 10, a bombing at a church killed at least three people.
In a statement Tuesday, the State Security Service said it arrested a citizen of Niger on Aug. 4 who later confessed to being a Boko Haram member involved in the bombings. The domestic secret police agency said they arrested four other accomplices who they suspect took part in the killing of four police officers near the capital on May 22.
Officers also found a bomb-making workshop in Niger state and arrested a miner for supplying explosives to the group, the agency said. Those arrested will face charges soon in court, the statement said.
The announcement of the arrests indicates that Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, operated near Nigeria's capital months before the U.N. headquarters bombing. The group, based in northeast Nigeria, has carried out increasingly violent sectarian attacks in the last year, culminating in the U.N. attack that left 81 people wounded.