The cell, the military said, played a major role in the kidnap of over 250 girls in Chibok on April 14 and the murder of the Emir of Gwoza on May 30.
In a statement by the spokesperson of the Defense Headquarters, Chris Olukolade, the military said it arrested Babuji Ya'ari, a man whom it said participated in both attacks
"The man, Babuji Ya'ari, who is also a member of the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF which he uses as cover while remaining an active terrorist, also spearheaded the murder of the Emir of Gwoza," the military said. "Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs in several locations in the town."
Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, said the arrest of Mr. Ya'ari led to the arrest of other members of the cell, including a woman, Hafsat Bako, who was responsible for paying sect members and had initially escaped to Gombe.
"Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armourer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested," he said.
About 217 of the teenage girls kidnapped from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, are still in the custody of the Boko Haram despite international efforts and condemnation. The military had said it knew the whereabouts of the girls but would not use force to free them to avoid casualties.
In an opinion he wrote for the Washington Post last week, President Goodluck Jonathan said he was not weak in his handling of the kidnap of the girls.
"I have had to remain quiet about the continuing efforts by Nigeria's military, police and investigators to find the girls kidnapped in April from the town of Chibok by the terrorist group Boko Haram," the president said. "I am deeply concerned, however, that my silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness."
Mr. Jonathan's statement comes amidst criticisms of his government and the military's handling of the Chibok kidnap and the whole Boko Haram crisis, which has claimed over 13,000 lives since 2009.
Read Mr. Olukolade's full statement of Monday below:
TROOPS BUST TERRORISTS' INTELLIGENCE NETWORK ... ARREST A KEY ACTOR IN CHIBOK ABDUCTION
A terrorists' intelligence cell headed by a businessman who participated actively in the abduction of School Girls in Chibok has been busted by troops. The man, Babuji Ya'ari who is also a member of the Youth Vigilante Group popularly known as Civilian JTF which he uses as cover while remaining an active terrorist, also spearheaded the murder of the Emir of Gwoza. His main role in the group is to spy and gather information for the terrorists group.
Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on Customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs in several locations in the town.
The arrest of the businessman who is known to deal in tricycles has also yielded some vital information and facilitated the arrest of other members of the terrorists' intelligence cell who are women. One of them, Hafsat Bako had earlier escaped to Gombe State to avoid suspicion but was tracked and arrested. Prior to her arrest, Hafsat coordinated the payment of other operatives on the payroll of the group. In her confession, she disclosed that a minimum of N10,000 is paid to each operative depending on the enormity of his task.
Another female suspect named Haj Kaka who doubles as an armourer and a spy for the terrorists group has also been arrested. Until their arrest, all the suspects actively operated a terrorists' intelligence cell in collaboration with others still at large.
In another development, troops deployed in Goniri, Yobe State, over the weekend, had an encounter with terrorists, resulting in casualties on both sides after the attack was successfully repelled.