The Nigerian Army as part of the celebration of Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary yesterday released 348 suspected Boko Haram members.
The detainees comprising 114 male, 107 female and 127 children, were handed over by the acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Victor Ezegwu to the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima at a parade marking the Independence Day at the Ramat Square, Maiduguri.
Ezegwu revealed that the suspects were arrested at various camps and havens of the insurgents in Borno State, North-east Nigeria.
He said they have been investigated and found to be innocent of involvement in insurgency. He equally revealed that out of the 127 children released 115 were within the age bracket 5-10 years, while 12 of them fall within the range of 11 years and above.
He said some suspects who were also investigated are however going to be prosecuted for civil crime and have been handed to the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS).
He disclosed that in this class are six foreigners who illegally entered Nigeria. They include four Cameroonians, a Chadian and a Jamaican and would be separately handed to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for deportation.
Ezegwu revealed that yesterday’s release was the fifth by the 7 Division since his assumption as the GOC of the command, and the move was in line with the military high command to ensure that due regard is given to the issue of fairness and justice in the conduct of operations against terrorists.