Troops of the Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) in N’Djamena, Chad have received 106 civilians who escaped from the Boko Haram terrorists and surrendered.
Out of the 106 surrendered civilians, 94 are Nigerians, 11 Cameroonians, while one person is from Chad republic.
Handing them over to Borno State Government on Wednesday, the Commander MNJTF, Maj. Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, said some of the persons of interest voluntarily surrendered to the Headquarters Sector 1 of the MNJTF in far North Cameroon, while the women and children were rescued.
Yusuf said while the military welcomed non-kinetic approach to the War, it warned that operations would continue, adding that it will investigate some of the surrendered persons to ascertain their relationship with the terrorists.
“This is a strong indication of success, because, in counter insurgency operations success is measured not just by the number of insurgents that we kill, but as well the number of those that are surrendering, as well as a reduction in their recruitment base . So, obviously this is a success indicator.
” It is because of the Multi National nature of the operations involving Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria , that by the concept of our operations ,we operate seamlessly and that is why whether they surrender in Nigeria or they surrender in Cameroon, or Niger, it is the same thing for us .
” It is one cohesive force, but the onus now is on us, and we have the guidelines and since they are Nigerians , we have to transfer them to the Nigerian government and the one person from Chad, we have to arrange to get him to Chad, so it is part of our mandate,” Maj. Gen Yusuf said.
In his remarks, the Borno State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Shehu- Lawan , who led six man delegation, comprising Commissioner of Women Affairs and Commissioner of Religious Affairs, to N’jamena for official handling over of the returnees, said the state government will commence profiling of the people, adding that government plan is to return them to Nigeria for deradicalization and reintegration.
He said encouraging repentance is part of government’s non kinetic approach to the counter insurgency.
He said those profiled as ex fighters will be sent to the “operation safe corridor”, while the rescued women will undergo stages of counseling before they are debriefed.
” 40 out of those rescued are children, 17 are women, and the rest are male.
During profiling, it was discovered that five of the men are Cameroonians, while one is a Chadian. The government of Cameroon has since reached out to the government of Chad.
“We received a report that a number of our citizens are here, surrendered to the MNJTF ,and we also have others that are not members of the Boko Haram sect, but pursuant to the clearance operation, they were rescued following the liberation of villages they were held captive.
” So we are here to see for ourselves, to ascertain how many of them are truly indigenes of Borno, how many are fighters? How many are not fighters? How many women and children. Secondly, having identified the number of fighters and non-fighters, women and children, we’ll plan for evacuation of those that are innocent, those rescued as a result of clearance operation immediately to Maiduguri, with a view to reintegrating them because, they are innocent.
” And the ones that are fighters, we’ll liase with “operation safe corridor”, and transfer them there with a view to deradicalizing them,” Lawan said.