Africa

Nigeria arrests Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa

People run for safety as a police office burns in Kano. Photo: 20 January 2012
Image caption The Kano attack is one of the deadliest by the militants so far

Police in Nigeria say they have arrested the spokesman of the Boko Haram militant group which has carried out scores of attacks recently.

A police official said the man, known by his nom de guerre Abul Qaqa, was arrested in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, in Borno state.

The official told the Associated Press news agency the militant was captured after police tracked his mobile phone.

More than 150 people were killed by Boko Haram militants last month.

A series of co-ordinated explosions ripped apart police buildings, passport offices and immigration centres around the northern city of Kano.

It was one of the bloodiest attacks by the group so far.

Boko Haram has said it wants to overthrow the national government and install an Islamic state.

Its members have frequently attacked police stations and other symbols of state power, but the group has also bombed churches and killed hundreds of people - including many Muslim and Christian civilians.

Officials are trying to confirm the identity of the man arrested on Wednesday.

"We are still taking to him. Since 'Abu Qaqa' is a pseudonym for the Boko Haram spokesman, we want to be sure of who we have with us," an unnamed official told Reuters news agency.

Abul Qaqa has often spoken to journalists in the wake of militant attacks.