The leader of Ansaru jihadist group, a Boko Haram splinter group, known for kidnapping foreigners and attacks against Christians, has been arrested.

A military spokesman said Khalid al-Barnawi was captured in Lokoja, capital of the central Nigerian state of Kogi.

“Security agents made a breakthrough on Friday in the fight against terrorism by arresting Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of Ansaru terrorist group in Lokoja,” military spokesman Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar said.

“He is among those on top of the list of our wanted terrorists.”

The US had placed a $5m (£3.5m) bounty on his head after branding him one of three Nigerian “specially designated global terrorists” in 2012.

Ideologically aligned to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansaru disapproves of what it sees as Boko Haram’s indiscriminate bombing and shooting campaign, preferring instead high profile killings and attacks on Western interests.

Ansaru tries to avoid Muslim casualties and actively attacks Christians and churches.

Ansaru also said it carried out an attack on a maximum security prison in the Nigerian capital Abuja in 2012, freeing dozens of inmates.

Source: BBC