Nigerian police said they had arrested a shop owner who sold chemicals to people suspected of involvement in Monday’s failed car bomb attack on the police headquarters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.
A man was shot dead by police after he rammed a car filled with explosives, which failed to detonate, through the gates leading to the police station, similar to a strike in the capital Abuja in June, carried out by radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram.
“Detectives combed the car for clues on Monday that would assist in further investigations. Following up on one of the clues, detectives were able to trace the source of the explosive materials to a store in Maiduguri,” Simeon Midenda, Borno state police commissioner, told reporters on Friday, Reuters reports.
“Investigations so far revealed 13 bottles of aluminium powder, one packet of face masks and a packet of hand gloves were bought from the store on Aug. 8, by those who sponsored the bombing attempt.”
Midenda gave no details of who the police believed the sponsors or bombers were. He said documents in the shop show significant purchases were made on dates prior to other bomb attacks over the last year.
Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, has been the scene of months of attacks by Boko Haram, whose name roughly translated from the local Hausa language is “Western education is sinful”. More than 150 people have been killed in attacks this year in the city of around 1.2 million.
Attacks are growing in intensity and spreading further afield. The group claimed responsibility for the attack in the car park of police headquarters in Abuja.
The police commissioner of Yobe, another state in the remote northeast on the Niger border, said one of his patrols arrested eight members of Boko Haram behind a bomb attack last week and had transferred them to police headquarters in Abuja.
Bomb blasts in the north have replaced militant attacks on oil facilities hundreds of miles away in the southern Niger Delta as the main security threat in Nigeria.
Boko Haram’s views, which include wanting sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria, are not backed by most of the country’s Muslim population, the largest in sub-Saharan Africa.
President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed a committee to look into the unrest in the northeast. The team was supposed to deliver its report on Tuesday but was given a two-week extension after presenting preliminary findings.