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Key Suspect In Nigerian Schoolgirls' Kidnapping Arrested

Officials say a key suspect in the April kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls was arrested by the Nigerian army.
Posted at 9:46 AM, Jul 01, 2014

A possible break in the mass kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

"They have arrested a businessman who they say, the military say, was a vigilante who was acting as an informant." (Via Al Jazeera)

Officials told the The Nigerian Tribune the suspect is Babuji Ya'ari. The Nigerian army says he "participated actively" in the April abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok and was one of the masterminds behind the operation. 

According to Nigeria's New Telegraph, Ya'ari posed as a member of a pro-government vigilante group fighting against Boko Haram. The paper reports he used the group as a cover while he remained an "active terrorist" in a Boko Haram intelligence cell.

The Premium Times obtained a copy of a statement made by a military spokesperson Monday. "Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs in several locations in the town."

The arrest came after a car bomb blast shook a busy market in Maiduguri Tuesday, killing at least eight people.

The BBC reports IED explosives were reportedly hidden in a vehicle carrying charcoal. It's still unclear exactly who was behind that attack.

But Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for several deadly shootings and bombings in Maiduguri in the past. (Via NTV)

The Nigerian government has yet to effectively crack down on Boko Haram, despite a now yearlong military operation against it. The militant group has killed thousands of people since 2009. (Via Euronews)

Authorities say 219 schoolgirls still remain in captivity, and the government claims it can't save them without putting their safety in jeopardy. No word on if Ya'ari's arrest will have an impact on bringing them home.