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Army denies freeing 1009 Boko Haram terrorists in custody

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Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu

The Nigerian Army (NA) has debunked reports that it has released over 1009 ex-Boko Haram fighters to Borno State government.

Army spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu, a Brigadier General who debunked the story noted that the army has been notified of a media publication alleging that the NA has handed over 1009 Ex-Boko Haram fighters to Borno State government.

It was reported that the Nigerian military on Wednesday released 1,009 ex-Boko Haram insurgents, who had been in military custody at Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

It further said the former terrorists were handed over to the Borno State Government in a secret ceremony that was initially billed to take place at an earlier date but was suspended indefinitely by the military authorities at the wake of the appointment of the new COAS.

“The report also alleged that 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,” Nwachukwu said.

“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.”

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