HUNDREDS of suspected Boko Haram militants have been arrested in Abia State.
They were arrested by soldiers attached to the 144 battalion of the Nigerian Army, Asa, Ukwa West Local Government Area, Abia State, on Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, on Sunday
The suspects, aged between 16 and 24, were being conveyed in 33 buses when they were stopped at the road between Aro-Ngwa and Imo Gate, on the expressway.
Some of the buses conveying more persons were said to have sped off and escaped arrest.
Although they were suspected to be Boko Haram militants, there was yet no evidence to establish a link between them and the insurgents, who have been unleashing violence on several northern states since 2009.
The suspects reportedly claimed to have come from different parts of the North and were searching for jobs.
Briefing the media on Monday, at the headquarters of the 144 Battalion, Asa, where the suspects were being detained, commander of the battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Rasheed Omolori, said two buses escaped with their occupants.
He said the incident had been reported to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.
He did not give any further details.
Also at the briefing were the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Charles Ajunwa and the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr Eze Chikamnayo.
Chikamnayo said the sheer size of the movement made it suspicious, adding that none of the suspects could identify their destination.
He also wondered how such “a long convoy” was not intercepted before it reached Abia State.
“The army and other security agencies in the state were actively investigating the suspects,” he said.