The military has secretly released and handed 1009 former Boko Haram fighters over to Borno State government.
A top government official told LEADERSHIP that such criticisms from members of the public are often out of context being that some of the freed suspects are at times victims of military raids after terrorists’ attacks in some parts of the state.
But, the Nigerian Army has said it was cleared suspects that were released in Borno State contrary to reports of ex-Boko Haram fighters.
The director army public relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said the handing over of the cleared suspects was not shrouded in secrecy as it was witnessed by the United Nations Humanitarian and government agencies, in tandem with global best practice.
He stated this while reacting to reports alleging that the Nigerian Army had handed over 1,009 Ex-Boko Haram fighters to Borno State government.
The report also alleged that the event was shrouded in secrecy.
LEADERSHIP, however, gathered that the military on Wednesday released the cleared 1,009 ex-Boko Haram fighters, who had been in custody at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The repentant terrorists were handed over to the Borno State Government in a closed-door ceremony that was initially billed to take place at an earlier date but was suspended indefinitely by the military authorities.
According to sources in the Army, the ex-terrorists were handed over to the commissioner for women affairs and social development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, who represented the state government at the event.
The source said, “The army handed 1,009 Boko Haram insurgents to the state government today (Wednesday). It was done in closed-door ceremony. Journalists were barred from covering the event.”
The top government source who confirmed yesterday the handing over of the freed Boko Haram suspects to the state government, said reception of the repentant terrorists by their various communities is witnessing a huge success unlike previously when the communities are rejecting them.
The source however said the six months period of deradicalisation of the ex-combatants were not enough, wondering how someone who had been living in the forest for years could be deradicalised just in a few months.av