Fears Boko Haram are spreading to southern Nigeria

Some of the 500 arrested travellers. Credit: Reuters

There are fears the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram could be spreading south, after security forces found a senior member in a convoy of nearly 500 travellers arrested this week in the southern state of Abia. Traditionally, the group has been largely confined to the Muslim north.

It also raises the concern that the group, which drew worldwide attention in April when it kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in northeast Nigeria, could eventually attempt attacks in the oil-rich Niger delta.

Some of the vehicles from the convoy intercepted by security forces. Credit: Reuters

Officials said on Monday that nearly 500 people believed to be northerners had been arrested overnight while travelling through the south in a convoy of more than 30 vans.

Boko Haram are suspects in the bombing of a Nigerian television bar yesterday, in which 13 people died while watching a World Cup game. No one has yet claimed responsibility, however.