The Nigerian Army on Wednesday freed 128 suspected Boko Haram members arrested in different locations of Borno State.
Speaking during the release of the 128 persons to the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buaratai, said the detainees have been carefully screened by a joint intelligence cell, which includes the Nigerian Army, Police, DSS and representative of Borno State government.
He said the Nigerian Army has three major tasks in the fulfilment of its role in the counter insurgency war in the North-East. These, it said, include facilitating humanitarian support to all agencies involved in humanitarian activities, defeat of the insurgents and the restoration of administrative function of all the areas liberated.
He said, “To attest to the fact that the Nigerian Army is a right body, we preserve human rights in the course of our duty and also maintain dignity of the individuals. The human right has vindicated the Nigerian Army, as we protect the territorial integrity of the country and defend its citizens.”
Gen. Buratai said the President was giving them more support by supplying them with more equipment and more troops deployed to various parts of the North-East, so as to end the insurgency within the stipulated time given by President Muhammadu Buhari.
While addressing the 128 freed Boko Haram suspects, Governor Kashim Shettima warned them to desist from engaging in unlawful activities He urged them to embark on legitimate business to sustain their livelihood and be fully integrated into the society as good citizens of the country.
He said, “Through the magnanimity and professionalism of the Nigerian Army, you have been released and will be fully integrated into the society. You should abstain yourselves from criminal activities, as the government is ready to empower you so that you will be good citizens that can bring development to the society.”
Also, the Nigerian Army on Wednesday in Damaturu, the capital of the troubled Yobe State, paraded 16 suspected Boko Haram members and their alleged collaborators.
Parading the suspects at the military base of the 27th Military Taskforce Brigade in Damaturu, the Acting Commander of the taskforce, Colonel Dahiru Bako said the suspects were arrested from different locations across the state.
Bako said some of the Boko Haram suspects were arrested shortly after carrying out an operation at the outskirts of Damaturu, where two villagers were killed. He said others were nabbed as collaborators and informants of the insurgents.
The collaborators, he said, were involved in the supply of logistics, such as foodstuff, fuel and cigarettes, among other intoxicants.
Items recovered from the suspects and their collaborators include 16 jerry cans of 25-litre Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), eight jerry cans of cooking oil, two bags of cannabis, among large quantities of assorted drugs.
Others things included 10 bags of rice, two bags of sugar, 12 bags of millet and six bags of potash as well as 12 bags of fertilizers which were believed to be used in the production of Improvised Explosive Devices.
Speaking to journalists, one of the released detainees, a 62-year-old Musa Ayuba, said he was excited as he would be finally going to be re-integrated with his family members. According to him, he has been in detention for almost two years.
He thanked the Army and the government for making them to regain their freedom. He promised to go back to their village to carry on with his farming activities.
The Nigerian Army had in July 2015 released 182 persons cleared of any link with the insurgency group.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director, Defence Information, Col. Rabe Abubakar, has assured Nigerians that the Boko Haram insurgents lacked the capacity to retake towns under the control of the military. Punch