Kabiru Sokoto’s escape just a day after his arrest led to national
embarrassment and to the firing of the country’s top police official.
Presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said the nation’s secret police
arrested Sokoto in Taraba state, which borders Cameroon.
Abati said he had no other details about the arrest, and referred
questions to the State Security Service.
Another security official said officers arrested Sokoto as he hid behind
a clothesline at a home in the state.
Sokoto will be flown back to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on an air force
flight, the official said.
Police named Sokoto, an alleged member of the radical sect known as Boko
Haram, as the prime suspect for the D bombing of St. Theresa Catholic
Church in Madalla, a city just outside of Abuja.
However, Sokoto escaped from police custody a day after his arrest, an
embarrassment for Nigeria’s ill-equipped federal police. President
Goodluck Jonathan later fired the nation’s top police official a few
months before his mandated retirement.
The bombing struck just after 8am as worshippers began to leave the
sanctuary after a morning service. A car bomb detonated near the
church’s front steps, cutting down those leaving.
The wounded quickly overwhelmed Nigeria’s chronically underprepared
emergency services, filling the cement floors of a nearby government
hospital, crying in pools of their own blood. Corpses lined an open-air
Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for the attack and separate
strikes that saw others die in two other Nigerian cities. The sect,
whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa
language, is carrying out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks
in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law and avenge Muslim
killings in Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million
This year, the sect is blamed for at least 270 deaths, according to an