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Boko Haram Kills 30 In Nigeria As Ex-Official Arrested For Embezzlement

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Suspected Islamist militants have struck twice in Nigeria since yesterday. Dozens of people were killed. The government blames the group Boko Haram. Adding to the tragedy is news that a former high-level official embezzled an enormous amount of money earmarked for the fight against the group. Here's NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: President Muhammadu Buhari accuses Sambo Dasuki of stealing more than $2 billion intended to purchase weapons to fight Boko Haram. Dasuki, a key adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, denies allegations that he awarded, quotes, "phantom contracts" to buy helicopters, fighter jets and arms for the Nigerian military. The weapons were never delivered to the ill-equipped and overwhelmed army. The 60-year-old retired lieutenant colonel is accused of taking over weapons' procurement from the Defense Ministry.

With sophisticated weaponry often captured from the military, Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, has killed and abducted thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more in the Northeast. The violence has spilled over Nigeria's borders. A multinational force has uprooted Boko Haram from its strongholds, yet the insurgents still strike at will, often using young girls and women in hit-and-run suicide and bombing attacks.

The latest blast last night, blamed on the extremists, killed more than 30 people at a busy bus station in the northeastern city of Yola, now home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Nigerians. President Buhari tweeted, the enemies of humanity will never win; hand-in-hand, we will rid our land of terrorism. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.