Members of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. ( File Photo: AP)
Nigeria's military said Friday it had arrested a number of security personnel over links to Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed hundreds of people.
The arrests came after soldiers from a special military unit deployed in the northeastern city of Maiduguri arrested an immigration officer, Grema Mohammed, for allegedly being an active member of Boko Haram, a military spokesman said.
Boko Haram is blamed for deadly attacks that have killed more than 1,400 people since 2010 as part of an insurgency in northern and central Nigeria.
The arrest "led to further arrests of some other security personnel that had been participating in various terrorist attacks in Borno and Yobe states," Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa said of the two states in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram has been based.
He did not specify how many arrests had been made.
"He confessed to being an active member of the Boko Haram terrorist sect which he joined long before the 2009 crisis," Musa said in a statement in reference to a 2009 uprising by the group.
"He also confessed to having been trained alongside 15 other members of the sect on weapon handling, assassination and special operations in Niger republic," Musa added, referring to the neighbouring nation.
Grema was arrested over a month ago at a checkpoint while allegedly impersonating an army lieutenant, Musa said.
The suspect also confessed to the killings of some senior civil servants, security personnel and politicians who had spoken against the sect in Yobe and Borno states.
He had also participated in attacks on police stations, a prison and the burning of public schools, Musa said.
There have previously been accusations of involvement of some security personnel in the attacks, which have grown increasingly sophisticated.