Signs that the violent Islamist sect Boko Haram is spreading its operations to other West African countries emerged yesterday as officials said five people suspected of having links with the sect were arrested in Senegal.
A top Senegalese judiciary officer told Reuters on Monday that suspects were arrested in September in the suburbs of Dakar, the capital of Senegal and the central town of Kaolak, more than 2,500 kilometres from the hub of terrorism in north-eastern Nigeria.
“We believe those arrested have ties with Boko Haram,” the official told Reuters.
The official added that the five men were arraigned before a Senegalese court on Friday where they were charged with alleged relations with Boko Haram, financing of terrorism and money laundering.
Boko Haram has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and at a time rebranded to Islamist State in West Africa. The sect has killed thousands of people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, in its quest for an Islamist state.
Senegal, is a majority-Muslim country and is perhaps the most politically stable country in the region.
A Muslim preacher was arrested last week in the southern town of Kolda on charges relating to inflammatory statements he had made during sermons.
Meanwhile, two female suicide bombers suspected to be members of the Boko Haram militant group blew themselves on Monday near a mosque in Cameroon’s Far North province, military officials said on Monday.
It was not immediately clear if the explosions caused other fatalities.