Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
Victims and families of Boko Haram have decried what they tagged continuous detention of their husbands, sons, and relations by the military on allegations of involvement in Boko Haram activities.
Over a dozen women in a black veil (hijab) gathered at Giwa Barrack Layout in Maiduguri, Borno State on Thursday, demanding the trial or release of their husbands, sons, and relations allegedly in military custody.
“I saw my two sons, Ibrahim and Musa the last time in September 2013 while they were being arrested by soldiers. The soldiers came to our house that day. They said they were conducting house-to-house search and my two sons who were then 30 and 26 years old, were among the 16 young men arrested by soldiers and taken to Giwa Barrack, but I never got to see them again even during a visit to the barrack,” she disclosed in tears.
Some other women also recalled how their husbands were whisked away by soldiers for alleged links with Boko Haram. They said most of the arrests occurred between late 2013 and mid-2014 when the military regularly conducted house-to-house-search for Boko Haram suspects in the city.
Hajia Hamsatu Allamin of Jire Dole, a Maiduguri-based human rights group which has been pushing for the trial or release of the Boko Haram suspects, said it was unfair for the military to keep the suspects for nearly seven years without trials.
“We demand the trial of these men. Almost all those arrested were taken to the Giwa Barracks military detention facility in Maiduguri. No one currently knows their whereabouts. Some have been in detention since 2011 with no access to their families, lawyers or outside the world,” Allamin told journalists at the scene where the women gathered.
She appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Borno governor-elect, Prof Babagana Umara Zulum to facilitate the release of those arrested to ease the pain of their relatives.