Nigerian soldiers in the front-line in the war against terrorists, have expressed disappointment with the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for releasing 1,400 'repentant Boko Haram suspects.'
According to The Cable, the soldiers said they do not understand why suspected Boko Haram members are being released in large numbers.
“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,” one of the soldiers who doesn't want his name mentioned said. “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?”
Similarly, another soldier stated that most of the Boko Haram insurgents who were being released on a 'repentant' claim, have found their way back to terrorism, unleashing mayhem in Nigerian communities.
He 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.”
Addressing the release of the repentant Boko Haram suspects, Borno Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jato said it is true that the insurgents were released in large numbers.
According to him, 1, 400 had been released in three tranches since the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ programme began.
Jato explained that most of the persons released were not actually Boko Haram members. He said they were relatives of terrorists or persons found in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The commissioner said, “There have been a series of releases. They were released in three tranches. The first set was released during Governor Shettima’s time while two sets have been released under Prof. Zulum.
“The total number of persons released is 1,400. Out of the 1,400, the majority of them are cleared suspects. These were people who were suspected of being members of Boko Haram and it was discovered that they were not.
“The rest are children of Boko Haram or actual Boko Haram members. I cannot give you a breakdown of the figure now for security reasons.”
Jato however maintained that it is untrue that the released repentant Boko Haram suspects had gone back to terrorism, as he said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had handed them over to the Borno state government for proper re-integration to their communities.