An ex-leader of a militant group that claimed responsibility for a dual car bombing that killed 12 in Nigeria has been arrested in Johannesburg.
And Nigeria’s secret service said it had received intelligence of an attack beforehand.
But Marilyn Ogar, a spokeswoman for the State Security Service, said they were unable to stop the bombings that targeted celebrations surrounding Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Ogar said police arrested Henry Okah, the ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta some time after Friday’s bombings.
The Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta, also known by the acronym MEND, issued a warning to journalists about an hour before the attacks, telling people to stay away from festivities at Eagle Square in the nation’s capital of Abuja.
It blamed Nigeria’s government for doing nothing to end the unceasing poverty in the delta as the nation receives billions of dollars from oil revenue.
The militant group has destroyed oil pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company workers and fought government troops since 2006.
Ogar also said her agency received “intelligence from our foreign partners, long, long before the attacks.” She said security agencies and police cordoned off the area surrounding Eagle Square, where President Goodluck Jonathan and other dignitaries watched a military parade.
The dual car bombs detonated about a 10-minute walk away. The event went on uninterrupted.
“Unfortunately, there’s no way security can be 100 % foolproof,” Ogar said. “We are happy all the same the event went on smoothly and it wasn’t interrupted.”