Reports from Nigeria indicates that police have arrested about 39 men suspected to be separatists from Cameroon’s restive south.
They were apprehended on Thursday by security forces in the town of Nguroje, in the country’s northeastern Taraba state.
Locals who spoke to Africanews correspondent Ibrahim Abdul Aziz said the alleged “separatists” have been hovering in the area for more than two weeks having training sessions on gun shooting.
They were initially arrested by the military before being handed handed over to police divisional headquarters in the town of Gembu.
“The gun trainees numbering 39, comprises of five trainers suspected to be Niger Delta militants from Nigeria’s south along with 34 Cameroonian trainees” a local chief told our correspondent on condition of anonymity.
Taraba State police spokesperson, Assistant Superintendent of Police, David Missal, confirmed the arrests to newsmen in the state capital, Jalingo. He, however, disputed the account of locals by saying there were no incriminating weapons found on the detainees.
Mr. Missal, added that the age range of
“The strange men, who were allegedly harboured by a woman in the community, were first taken to Gembu Divisional Police Headquarters where they were interrogated and later transferred here, the Command Headquarters in Jalingo for further investigation.
“They claimed to be refugees from Cameroon Republic, but their movement was suspicious because they did not report their arrival in the area to any security agency or any other appropriate authority,” he said.
Missal recalled that earlier batches of refugees who fled the crisis-ridden northeast and northwest Cameroon especially women, children and the aged, had reported to appropriate quarters and were camped and catered for.
“This set of able bodied men only sneaked into Nguroje, passing through other towns and Gembu, the council’s headquarters, without information,” he said. Meanwhile, a local government official has said the suspects, who claimed to be from Bamenda in Cameroun, did not notify the council of their coming.
Ibrahim Abdul Aziz, Africanews correspondent in Yola, Nigeria