Missing Nigeria schoolgirls: Businessman and two women with suspected Boko Haram links arrested

More than 200 of the kidnapped schoolgirls are still in captivity

Several suspected Boko Haram collaborators have been arrested for involvement in the kidnapping of almost 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Among them is a businessman, Babuji Ya’ari, based in Maiduguri who allegedly helped the Islamist insurgents plan several attacks and murders under the cover of a pro-government vigilante group fighting Boko Haram.

Two women were also arrested, with one accused of coordinating payments to other “operatives”.

A defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade, said Ya’ari used his membership of the pro-government group “as a cover, while remaining an active terrorist”.

“His main role in the group is to spy and gather information for the terrorists,” he added.

The Major General claimed the man had coordinated several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011 and was involved in the killing of a traditional ruler, the Emir of Gwoza.

Nigeria Defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade

Almost 220 of the abducted girls are still in captivity and a video released earlier this year showed them unharmed but shaking, reciting the Koran.

The students were taken from a school in Chibok, in Borno state, in April and have become a symbol of the Nigerian Government’s failure to protect citizens from the Islamist militants.

Boko Haram’s insurgency, aiming to establish an Islamist state, has killed thousands since 2009 but the bloody murders, bombings and massacres received little attention until the mass kidnapping.

It sparked a viral social media campaign, #bringbackourgirls, which led to support for the Nigerian Government from the US and Britain but international attention has again waned.

A bomb in a busy market in Maiduguri on Monday killed at least 20 people in the latest suspected attack by Boko Haram.

A separate explosion at a busy intersection in the northern city of Kaduna on Tuesday wounded two people but caused no deaths.

Additional reporting by Reuters