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Nigeria: Escape of Boko Haram bombmaker causes outrage

Boko Haram's Kabiru Sokoto, a suspect of Nigeria Christmas bombing, was arrested on Saturday.
People stand in front of the partially destroyed St. Theresa Catholic Church after a bomb blast in the Madala Zuba district of Nigeria's capital Abuja on Dec. 25, 2011. Two explosions near churches during Christmas Day services in Nigeria, including one outside the country's capital, killed at least 28 people amid spiralling violence blamed on an Islamist group. The suspected attacks stoked fear and anger in Africa's most populous nation, which has been hit by scores of bombings and shootings attributed to Islamist group Boko Haram, with authorities seemingly unable to stop them. (Sunday Aghaeze/AFP/Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kabiru Sokoto, an alleged Boko Haram bombmaker suspected of masterminding a Christmas Day attack that killed 44 people outside the capital Abuja, was arrested on Saturday and escaped the very next day while in police custody.

Read more on GlobalPost: Christmas church bombs kill dozens in Nigeria

Sokoto's escape has caused outrage in Nigeria and led to the suspension of the country's police commissioner for negligence but the circumstances both of Sokoto's arrest and escape remain murky.

He was arrested while at a lodge owned by the Governor of Borno State, Boko Haram's heartland and one of a dozen northern states where sharia law has been implemented.

The governor said Sokoto's presence was a "security breach". His escape the next day came as police escorted Sokoto to his home where they planned to search the premises. Instead Sokoto somehow got away.

Read more on GlobalPost: Our five-part series, Nigeria on the Brink

So is this incompetence or complicity?

Either is equally likely but recent comments from President Goodluck Jonathan (made before Sokoto's arrest and escape) shed some light on where the answer may lie as he warned that sympathisers of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram could be found amongst Nigeria's politicians, judges, soldiers and police.

Read more on GlobalPost: Nigerian president says Boko Haram has gov't support