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606 repentant BHT/ISWAP terrorists to be released in June after DRR programme; CDS says No Military or Sister Security Agency has recruited any repentant Boko Haram terrorist.

Picture of Rep of CDS and Stakeholders.

The Defence headquarters on Thursday said a fresh batch of 606 repentant Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists currently undergoing de-radicalization, and rehabilitation programme under ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, are expected to be discharged and re-integrated into the society by June 28, 2020.

This is even as the Chief of Defence Staff; General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin disclosed that since the establishment of Operation Safe Corridor, over 2000 low profile Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State of West Africa Province members have laid down their arms.

Picture of CDI and Rep of CDS.

Speaking at the stakeholders meeting to work out modalities for the transfer of rehabilitated ‘clients’ to their national and state governments in Abuja, the CDS who was represented by Air Vice Marshal Nurudeen Balogun, Chief of Defence Policy and Plans noted that out of those who laid down arms, 1,000 have been processed by Operation Safe Corridor while 250 members including 2 foreign nationals have been successfully re-integrated by their national and state governments.

The CDS said, “The remaining 692 ‘Clients’ are currently undergoing the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration programme at the DRR camp in Gombe and Bulumkutu rehabilitation center in Maiduguri respectively” adding, “It is expected that more ‘clients’ will be absorbed into the programme this year”.

Picture of Swiss Aambassador to Nigeria & Rep of CDS.

Speaking against the backdrop of outrage of Nigerians, that repentant Boko Haram killers, rapists, anarchist were being recycled, Olonisakin said, “I will like to state that Operation Safe Corridor is not a military operation as is being insinuated in some quarters. The core functions of the scheme are performed by ministries, departments and agencies MDAs with relevant competences”.

He said the role of the military and other security agencies is to provide enabling environment and leadership for effectiveness and efficiency of the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration programme.

“There have also been fears that products of Operation Safe Corridor are being recruited into the military and Para-military organizations. I wish to categorically refute the claim and assure Nigerians that, none of the rehabilitated Nigerians from operation Safe Corridor, de-radicalization, rehabilitation and re-integration programme has been recruited into the Nigerian military or any sister security agencies, as stringent measures have been put in place to prevent such from happening.”

The CDS reiterated that Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have been significantly degraded and their activities greatly restricted to a small portion of Sambisa forest and isolated islands on the Lake Chad from where the sect carry out occasional attacks on soft military and civil targets and very lately, disruption of movement on major highways in the north east to create apprehension and insecurity.

“However, through consistent and effective air interdiction and regular clearance operations on identified strongholds of the insurgents, the sect has suffered heavy casualties in its leadership cadre causing confusion in their ranks.

“As at today, over 1,000 high profile Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have been captured, arrested and investigated, out of which over 500 have been convicted by courts of competent jurisdiction”, the CDS said.

Earlier in his welcome address, Coordinator of the programme, Major General Bamidele Shaffa disclosed that since the commencement of Operation Safe Corridor, the programme has admitted 893 ‘clients’ including 874 adults and 19 minors for the DRR programme in Gombe out of which 280 including 2 Chadians have so far been transferred to their respective national and state authorities.

“Presently, there are 606 ‘clients’ undergoing the programme in the camp. Also, 86 minors passed through UNICEF Child Care Programe at the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Center in Maiduguri in conjunction with Borno State ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development”.

“The parents of these ‘clients’ have been traced and they are being re-integrated through their LG Authorities”.

Continuing, Major Gen Shaffa said, “Following approval from appropriate superior authority, 25 Nigerian ‘clients’ including 14 male adults, 3 female adults and 8 children who voluntarily laid down their arms in Niger Republic and rehabilitated by the authorities of the country were repatriated on 26 February 2020 and are presently quartered at the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Center for profiling and administration of Oath of Allegiance before they are re-integrated by the state government.

“In addition to constant monitoring and evaluation of the ‘clients’ in the communities where they are resettled by our partners, OPSC recently conducted a follow-up programme to assess the performance of the ‘clients’ in the communities. The reports from the last exercise we conducted in Bama and Maiduguri were fascinating and largely encouraging” he said.

Present at the meeting were the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Sani Usman, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, representatives of the governments of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe and Jigawa states as well as representatives as well as representatives of the Service Chiefs.

END

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