By Bukar Bolori
One hundred and six (106) persons who “escaped” from Boko Haram captivity have found their way into the hands of the troops of the Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF).
Ninety-four (94) of the escapees who are Nigerians were subsequently released to representatives of Borno State Government led by the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, KakaShehu Lawan.
A statement shared on the verified social media handles of Borno State Government spokespersons said the MNJTF on Tuesday received 106 civilians who escaped from the Boko Haram terrorists and surrendered to them.
It added that 94 of the escapees were Nigerians, were handed over to a delegation of Borno government at a remote location in the Republic of Chad.
The publication said of the 94 Nigerians released, 37 were adult males, 17 adult females and 40 children.
The other 12 escapees were Cameroonians and Chadian.
The publication said while handling the 94 persons over to Borno Government, Commander of the MNJTF, Maj. Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, said it is interesting that some of the escapees voluntarily surrendered themselves to the Headquarters Sector 1 of the MNJTF in far North Cameroon, while the women and children were rescued.
Yusuf, was reported to have said while the military welcomed non-kinetic approach to the War, he warned that the military operations would continue.
He however said some of surrendered persons would be investigated to ascertain their relationship with the terrorists.
He said “this is a strong indication of success, because, in counter insurgency operations success is measured not just by the number of insurgents that we kill, but as well the number of those that are surrendering, as well as a reduction in their recruitment base . So, obviously this is a success indicator.
”It is because of the Multi National nature of the operations involving Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria , that by the concept of our operations, we operate seamlessly and that is why whether they surrender in Nigeria or they surrender in Cameroon, or Niger, it is the same thing for us .
” It is one cohesive force, but the onus now is on us, and we have the guidelines and since they are Nigerians , we have to transfer them to the Nigerian government and the one person from Chad, we have to arrange to get him to Chad, so it is part of our mandate,” Yusuf said.
In his remarks, Borno’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, KakaShehu Lawan, who led six man delegation, including Commissioners of Women Affairs and Religious Affairs and special advisers, said the state government was going to profile, debrief, deradicalize and reintegrate the escapees.
He said those profiled as ex-fighters would be sent to Nigerian military’s “operation safe corridor”, while the rescued women will undergo stages of counseling before they are debriefed.
“We received a report that a number of our citizens are here, surrendered to the MNJTF,and we also have others that are not members of the Boko Haram sect, but pursuant to the clearance operation, they were rescued following the liberation of villages they were held captive.
”So we are here to see for ourselves, to ascertain how many of them are truly indigenes of Borno, how many are fighters? How many are not fighters? How many women and children. Secondly, having identified the number of fighters and non-fighters, women and children, we’ll plan for evacuation of those that are innocent, those rescued as a result of clearance operation immediately to Maiduguri, with a view to reintegrating them because, they are innocent.
”And the ones that are fighters, we’ll liase with “operation safe corridor”, and transfer them there with a view to deradicalizing them,” Lawan said.