Bana Fanaye also known as Mahamat Moustapha, said to be the mastermind of Boko Haram operations in Chad and northern Cameroon, has been arrested by authorities in Chad. Assorted weapons, as well as cell phone SIM cards for various countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger were recovered from his residence.
Bana Fanaye is said to be the brain behind most Boko Harma operations including arms purchases in Chad and northern Cameroon. He was arrested on Friday afternoon.
Media reports quoted Chadian officials as saying that Fanaye is in charge of recruiting Boko Haram terrorists, arms purchases and planning of terrorism targets and operations in Chad and northern Cameroon.
Weapons of different kinds and assorted communication gadgets were found in his house, including more than 50 SIM cards from different countries in the sub region, tchadinfos.com reported.
It was his arrest that helped security forces locate other Boko Haram members housed in an area called Diguel Diguessou in the 8th district, the report said. Many of them were killed.
In a related development, Reuters news agency is reporting that Cameroon officials have arrested three suspects carrying a bag containing improvised explosive devices in the northern town of Maroua where a spate of suspected Boko Haram suicide attacks killed at least 40 last week.
The men were caught on Thursday evening at the entrance of the city following a tip-off, a senior military source with the Central African nation’s special forces in Maroua, told Reuters.
“The suspect who was carrying the bag with the explosives is a Nigerian. The other two are Cameroonians, according to their identity cards,” another senior local government administrator said by telephone from Maroua.
He said the young men, aged about 20, were suspected Boko Haram militants who were planning another attack.
Cameroon has increased troops and tighten security in the northern regional capital following the suicide bombings, the deepest incursion by suspected Boko Haram militants from neighboring Nigeria.
Cameroon security officials also carried out a raid on Thursday in Kousseri, some 220 km (140 miles) north of Maroua, where some 2,000 Nigerians who were living in Cameroon without permits were loaded in trucks and taken across the border.
A local administrator said the raid was part of measures aimed at improving security and controlling movements along the border region.
The leaders of both countries pledged on Thursday, following a summit in Yaounde, to work together to crush the six-year insurgency which has killed thousands, spread to neighboring countries and threatens the stability of the Lake Chad region.
Boko Haram, which calls itself the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) since pledging allegiance to the militant group that controls large areas of Syria and Iraq, is fighting to establish an emirate in northeast Nigeria.