Contrary to speculations, the Nigerian Army has denied ever pampering repentant terrorists, saying Boko Haram members surrendering were only treated humanely in line with the provisions of the law.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme on Monday night, the Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Chris Musa, said the clarification was to dispel insinuations that the terrorists were being over-pampered by the military.
He said: “We are not pampering them, we are just being in line with the statutory laws on the ground and that is why we ensure that all those that have been profiled are brought in and kept secure.’’
Already in the North-East, according to him, the army has over 51,000 ex-Boko Haram members and their families, including 11,000 males .
General Musa stated further: “Among the males, we have some that were enslaved, those that were born there, and those that were conscripted. Gradually, those are going to be sorted out, and then the legal system will take its course.
“We get information as quickly as things are happening….sometimes, the challenge might probably be the way to communicate because we do not have network everywhere; but as soon as they get to where they can send messages across to us, they let us know.
“That has assisted us greatly in subduing the insurgents to such an extent that we have so much peace. We have over 51,000 insurgents and their family members that have surrendered to us.
“Normally there will be some concerns and I don’t blame the public for that, but I just want to assure them that we are professionals and we have done this before in other countries where we had issues of disarmament.
“What goes on here now is that as soon as any of them is willing to surrender, he reports straight to the closest military location. The commander on ground has his troops ready to disarm them, take over their arms, search them and profile them.
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“Then the state government provides buses to move them to the camps already provided. The state government takes care of the management and administration, what we do is to ensure that the perimeter is secured. So, we want to assure members of the communities that they are well secured and that they will not pose any threat to anybody.
“The death of Shekau has opened a lot of opportunities because while he was there, he was very brutal; anybody who attempts to escape will be killed. They were scared of him.”