Nigeria‘s state security agency said on Wednesday it had thwarted plans by Boko Haram militants linked to Islamic State to attack the British and United States embassies in the capital Abuja.
The Department of State Services (DSS) said it arrested five suspected members of the Islamist militant group based in Benue state, in the country’s middle belt, between March 25 and 26.
[Department of State Services (DSS) operatives in Nigeria]
“The group had perfected plans to attack the UK and American Embassies and other western interests in Abuja,” it said in an emailed statement.
The security service said another suspected Boko Haram member, arrested on March 22, in northeastern Yobe state, confessed details of the plot. The British High Commission and U.S. embassy in Abuja did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes since 2009 in an insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.
Attacks have also crossed into neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.
Nigeria's military last week said it was "ransacking" territory it had recaptured from Boko Haram in the hunt for Shekau. Shekau leads one of two main branches of the jihadist group and gained notoriety after the capture of more than 200 school girls. Reports reaching the Nigerin Army suggest that he might be hiding in the Sambisa forest.
Boko Haram split last year, with one faction led by Shekau operating from the forest and the other, allied to Islamic State and led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, based in the Lake Chad region.
The voice in the video called on followers to remain loyal in their support for Shekau. He said “We urge all members to be one hundred percent loyal to him [Shekau].....It is not true that you killed Shekau,” he said, referring to previous claims by the Nigerian military that he had been fatally wounded.
President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has returned home after spending up to seven weeks on medical leave in the U.K. He flew into Nigeria at about 7:45 on Friday the 10th of March. The President's plane was diverted to Kaduna.
The Abuja airport, the gateway to The Nigerian capital and seat of the government, was closed on Wednesday with all flights diverted to Kaduna airport in Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria. The renovation work due to be carried out will take at least six weeks to be completed.
(Damaged Tarmac at Nnamdi Azikiwe Abuja Airport. Picture courtesy of @AyolaTv)
There President was whisked away on arrival to Abuja in a military helicopter. Africa Welsh News is unable to confirm if the President's plane arrived at Kaduna airport or an airforce base in Kaduna.
The President flew to the U?K on the 19th of January for medical reasons. Nigerian's in the country and in diaspora protested during the absence of the President because they felt there was a need for more transparency about the ailment that had rendered him unable to rule for a long period.
Some state governors and other top Nigerian politicians visited the President whilst on medical leave but during this period, the President did not release any statements or make any public appearances making some believe that he must have passed on.
The President is supposed to take things easy for some time. He is expected to continue his rest leaving the Vice President to remain as the acting President for some time yet.
The President's media aide, Mr Femi Adesina Released a statement saying “President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to return to the country tomorrow, Friday March 10, 2017. The President left the country on January 19, 2017 for a vacation, during which he had routine medical check-ups.
“The holiday was extended based on doctors’ recommendation for further tests and rest. “President Buhari expresses appreciation to teeming Nigerians from across the country and beyond, who had prayed fervently for him and also sent their good wishes,” the statement said.