Released 1,009 suspects have no link to Boko Haram – Army

Released 1,009 suspects have no link to Boko Haram – Army
File: Major General Faruk Yahaya, Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff

The Nigerian Army has debunked report that it had secretly handed over some suspected ex-Boko Haram fighters to the Borno State Government on Wednesday.

WuzupNigeria reported that at least 1,009 Boko Haram ex-fighters held in military custody at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, were released.

The report further tated that the ex-fighters were released to the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, who represented the state government at a ceremony.

However, a statement released by the Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu on Thursday, said that the 1,009 released suspects were people who have been profiled and discovered not having any link to the insurgents.

"The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of a media publication alleging that the NA has handed over 1009 Ex-Boko Haram fighters to Borno government.

"The report also alleged the event was shrouded in secrecy. This report is obviously one of those attempts to dampen troops' morale and denigrate the NA, riding on the back of unsubstantiated report and misinformation.

"While the NA would not want to join issues with the masterminds of this false narrative, it is important to set the records straight".

"It is an indisputable fact that the ongoing Counter Terrorism Counter Insurgency Operations (CTCOIN) in the North East has led to the arrest of several terrorism/insurgency suspects.

"These suspects have been held in custody while undergoing profiling and further investigations by experts from the Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) and those who are found culpable are usually handed over to prosecuting agencies accordingly while those who are not implicated in terrorism and insurgency are cleared and released to the state government for rehabilitation before they are reintegrated into the society.

"These cleared suspects are therefore not ex Boko Haram fighters, as peddled in the said online report and as the masterminds would want to impress on the public.

"A total of 1009 cleared suspects, not ex-fighters, were therefore released after this rigorous process on Wednesday 14 July 2021.

"It is also necessary to categorically state that the handing over of the cleared suspects was not shrouded in secrecy as it was witnessed by United Nations Humanitarian and government agencies, in tandem with global best practice.

"The NA, therefore, urges the general public to discountenance this misinformation, as it is evidently a manipulation and distortion of the truth and reality of the event," the statement read.

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