Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The military has released 983 persons detained in various facilities in Maiduguri, Borno State following their clearance of involvement with Boko Haram insurgents.
Some of the released persons said they were in military detention facilities for almost four years.
“I have been detained at the Giwa Barrack for about four years now,” a middle-aged man told Daily Sun on condition of anonymity. Two other said they spent three years at the detention.
Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi who handed over the suspects to Borno State government at a brief ceremony in Maiduguri said the suspects were arrested during military “offensive, defensive and subsidiary operations” against Boko Haram terrporists in Borno and northeast states affected by the violence.
“The products of these operations have led to several arrests, captured, surrendered and confirmed Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers for investigations,”
The commander explained that the 983 which include 978 male and five female have been screened, investigated and cleared by the joint investigation centre.
He said the military has the mandate to defeat Boko Haram and restore order in Borno and Northeast states. He assured that the military would not intimidate, harass, coerce or punish anyone unjustly.
He said the resolve of the Operation Dole to be painstaking in its handling of Boko Haram suspects led to comprehensive investigation that culminated in the unconditional release of the 983 persons.
He appealed to the state government to rehabilitate and re-integrate the released suspects back to the society. He promised that the military could continue to pursue its mandate to end insurgency in the area.
Governor Babagana Zulum said the handing over of the 983 persons was significant to the return of peace into the state. He said it was important for people to understand what the military has done and also know that the people released were not Boko Haram but were mere suspects now screened, investigated and freed of any link with the insurgents. He urged the people to accept them back into the society.
“This event will pave way for peace. It signals the beginning of peace in Borno and it is important for people to know that the military is not willing to detain innocent people,” the governor stated.
He assured that the government will rehabilitate the former detainees within a month through the Ministry of women affairs rehabilitation centre in Maiduguri. He also said the government would develop modalities for reintegrating Boko Haram who surrender and quit the group.
“This is necessary so as not to bring another crisis,” he said.