* Government at pains to show it can stamp out insurgency
* Islamists targeting Abuja with bombs on petrol lorries
* Ten Boko Haram members killed in northeast
(Recasts, adds killing of 10 militants)
By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, June 19 Islamist militants are planning
to attack Nigeria's capital with bombs loaded on petrol lorries,
the Nigerian government said, stoking fears of a sustained push
to the south from their northern heartland.
Abuja is at pains to show it can crush Boko Haram's
insurgency since the group drew worldwide attention in April by
abducting more than 200 girls from a school in the northeast.
On Thursday, the government said - as evidence it was
pushing back - that security forces had killed 10 of the group's
members in northeast Borno state, marking a rare recent success.
Without saying how the government planned to counter the
attacks, a senior information ministry official, Mike Omeri,
said in a statement late on Wednesday that the insurgents were
planning to plant "improvised explosive devices in the tankers
and drive them to crowded places in Abuja".
Boko Haram has killed thousands since 2009 and says it wants
to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mostly Muslim north.
Two bomb blasts in the central capital of Abuja in the south
in the weeks running up to the World Economic Forum in the
capital in May killed more than 90 people and prompted some
delegates to pull out of the conference.
Security forces this week discovered a senior Boko Haram
member among a convoy of nearly 500 travellers in the southern
state of Abia.
The presence of a high-ranking militant in the mainly
Christian south has raised concern that Boko Haram could
eventually attempt attacks in the oil-producing Niger delta.
Police in the southern state of Imo, in the eastern part of
the delta, defused three bombs found at a Christian church over
the weekend. Six people have since been arrested.
(Additional reporting by Isaac Abrak; Writing by David Dolan;
Editing by Louise Ireland)