Boko Haram spokesperson Abu Qaqa was arrested by Nigeria's secret service during an early morning raid on Wednesday.
The suspect is believed to be the voice of the Islamic rebel group responsible for the Christmas Day bombings that killed nearly 50 people, but authorities are trying to identify the militant beyond any doubt.
We are still talking to him. Since 'Abu Qaqa' is a pseudonym for the Boko Haram spokesman, we want to be sure of who we have with us. But we have been on his trail for months now. He's been changing locations and contacts, an unidentified State Security Services (SSS) source told Reuters.
Abu Qaqa (or Abul Qaqa, depending on sources) is a pseudonym that has been used by a Boko Haram member after some of the group's most recent attacks, including the Jan. 20 bombings in Kano that killed 185 people.
The Kano attacks were the group's deadliest to date. Boko Haram, whose name translates from Hausa to Western education is a sin, commcned its activities in 2009 but unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence after President Goodluck Jonathan's re-election in April 2011.
In recent months, Jonathan has been using the SSS and his Joint Task Force -- a consolidated effort between the police and the military -- to push back against Boko Haram by force. While the crackdown has led to a number of arrests, including that of Abu Qaqa and 158 people connected to the Kano bombings, but it has also led to public shoot-outs and fueled Boko Haram leader Imam Abubakar Shekau's ire.
Earlier this month, Shekau made two video addresses to the people of Nigeria, promising in the first to kill more soldiers, police officers and government officials, and threatening Jonathan in the second.
If Jonathan does not repent as a Muslim, even if I die myself, Jonathan's going to see. He's looking at me like I'm nobody, but he'll see, Shekau said in the video.
In response, Jonathan, for the first time, said he was will to hold a dialogue with the rebels, but only if they made themselves and their demands known to the public.
If they clearly identify themselves now and say this is the reason why [they] are resisting, this is the reason why [they] are confronting government or this is the reason why [they] destroy some innocent people and their properties ... then there will be a basis for dialogue, Jonathan told Reuters.
We will dialogue, let us know your problems and we will solve your problem but if they don't identify themselves, who will you dialogue with?
Maybe Jonathan will be able to dialogue with Abu Qaqa.