There was tension in security circles in Rivers State as the state police command Sunday arrested about 320 persons suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect.
THISDAY gathered that the suspects, men and women, were arrested in the early hours in a convoy of 17 buses at the border between Rivers and Imo States.
The convoy was said to be led by one Bala Mato Dambam.
The source also said the buses belong to a transport company owned by a former Inspector General of Police (IG) and had taken off from Jigawa State.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, confirmed the arrest of the suspects but would not state if they were members of Boko Haram until investigations were concluded.
He said the security of the state was a top priority of the police in Rivers, adding that the command would not take anything for granted.
“It is a top security issue, I don’t know how you got the information and I won’t ask you, but there cannot be any comment now from the Rivers police command until we finish the investigation. I will make no comment,” Mbu said.
When THISDAY visited the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Port Harcourt where the suspects were detained, many of them were sighted sitting in front of the office.
The police did not allow journalists into the premises as tight security was maintained around the police station.
The army high command had last year raised the alarm that members of Boko Haram were infiltrating Rivers State but the state government refuted the claim, stating that the information was capable of creating anxiety in an already tensed state.
Aside Lagos and Ogun States where suspected members of the Islamic sect have been sighted and arrested, their scourge has been restricted mainly to the northern states, particularly in the North-east region.