Nigerian soldiers serving in the North-Eastern region of Nigeria have complained following the alleged release of 1,400 ”repentant” Boko Haram suspects by the Federal government.
The suspects had undergone the Operation Safe Corridor programme, which was launched in 2016.
The military initiated Operation Safe Corridor for the deradicalisation and rehabilitation of all ex-Boko Haram members.
The Borno State Commissioner of Information, Babakura Jato, has confirmed that the Federal government released the rehabilitated sect members in Borno state.
In a chat with newsmen, Jato said they were released upon discovery that they were not members of the sect
Some were however discovered to be children of Boko Haram members.
According to The Cable, soldiers who confirmed the release said they are finding it hard to understand this development
saying they did not understand why suspected Boko Haram members who were capturing and killing soldiers, are being released in great numbers; 1,400.
Speaking about this, The Cable quoted one soldier as saying, “A lot of soldiers are not happy about this. We were there at the Maimalari barracks when some of these Boko Haram people were released.
He continued saying, “The authorities are releasing them, but Boko Haram are killing soldiers that they capture. This does not make sense to us at all.
“We continue to sweep across the bushes to flush these people out, and then the government will release them. Does that not amount to wasted efforts?” the soldier added
Still lamenting about this development, another soldier said, “You wonder why Boko Haram members are on the increase? When we arrest them and bring them here, some top people would come and start negotiating their release.
“But, I will tell you some of these so-called suspects are returning to the bush and they were never repentant.” the soldier told TheCable“
However, the spokesperson of the defence headquarters, Onyema Nwachukwu, said the releases were in line with Operation Safe Corridor.
He said, “We’ve made some releases, that’s the truth. We should know what the operation is about. But take note, it’s not that we capture Boko Haram suspects and then go back and release them. No.”
He also noted that the rehabilitation programme is directly supervised by the defence headquarters and conducted in conjunction with 13 civil organisations.
Furthermore, he said, “As a testimony to the effectiveness of the Safe Corridor initiative, so far, about 800 ex Boko Haram fighters who would have unleashed unimaginable terror on citizens have been admitted and out of which 287 of them have been successfully rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, with many still undergoing the DRR programme”.