Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Nigerian military has revealed that
132 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group voluntarily surrendered to the Nigerian troops after dropping their weapons in the last few weeks.
It also said that it is expecting more Boko Haram terrorists to drop their arms and embrace peace within the next few weeks.
Parading before journalists five of the 17 insurgents that in the last one week surrendered at Kala Balge and Kumshe areas to the military, the head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the North-east (Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole), Major General Rogers Nicholas, said that within the last few weeks, about 132 Boko Haram terrorists voluntarily surrendered to the Nigerian Armed Forces in Bama, Monguno, Kala Balge, Damboa and Kumshe axis.
He also appealed to those that are still Boko Haram members to come out from hiding and surrender to the Nigerian military.
He asked that they should surrender their weapons to the nearest military camps and formations closer to them.
He promised that the Nigerian military windows are open anytime any member of Boko Haram that is willing to lay down his arms and embrace peace.
Nicholas said there is no grain of truth in the rumour making the rounds that the Nigerian military were rather killing any member of Boko Haram that lay down his arm, adding that the military has been applying the human rights laws by providing medical and welfare services to those that surrender.
He assured Nigerians that the military will continue its operations and its doors are opened to welcome any Boko Haram that will surrender on his or her own to the security for medical treatment, rehabilitation, deradicalisation and reintegration while appealing for more terrorists to surrender to the military.
One of the surrendered Boko Haram members that spoke to journalists, Hassan Dahiru, said initially they were forcefully conscripted into the terrorist group but later realised that the activities of the group were not Islamic and against the religion of Islam by all ramifications.
Dahiru, who spoke for the four others, said: â€œWe have highly regretted our actions, especially the killings and destructions,â€ noting that what Boko Haram has been doing is cruel and inhumane actions against humanity.
He said: â€œThe only thing we want now is for God to forgive us and give us peace and fresh start.â€ He thanked God that the security agencies and President Muhammadu Buhari have given them the window to willingly surrender with assurances that they are now enjoying.
He said their lives have changed completely and promised that they will never return to such devilish act, even as he called on their former mates and group members to come out and surrender too and enjoy a better life.