Abiodun OBA

The Nigerian Army High Command on Thursday said the 1009 cleared suspects released are not ex-fighters as being reported.

This was contained in a statement, titled “Reports on the release of Boko Haram fighters in Borno, false,”  which was made available to newsmen in Abuja by Director Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu.

Nwachukwu said, “A total of 1009 cleared suspects, not ex-fighters, were therefore released after this rigorous process on Wednesday, 14 July 2021.

“The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of a media publication alleging that the NA has handed over 1009 ex-Boko Haram fighters to Borno State government.

“The report also alleged that the event was shrouded in secrecy. This report, obviously one of those attempts to dampen troops’ morale and denigrate the NA, riding on the back of unsubstantiated reports and misinformation.

“While the NA would not want to join issues with the masterminds of this false narrative, it is important to set the records straight.

“It is an indisputable fact that the ongoing Counter Terrorism Counter Insurgency Operations (CTCOIN) in the North East has led to the arrest of several terrorism/insurgency suspects.

“These suspects have been held in custody while undergoing profiling and further investigations by experts from the Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) and those who are found culpable are usually handed over to prosecuting agencies.

“Accordingly, while those who are not implicated in terrorism and insurgency are cleared and released to the state government for rehabilitation before they are reintegrated into the society.

“These cleared suspects are therefore not ex Boko Haram fighters, as peddled in the said online report and as the masterminds would want to impress on the public.

“It is also necessary to categorically state that the handing over of the cleared suspects was not shrouded in secrecy as it was witnessed by United Nations Humanitarian and government agencies, in tandem with global best practices.

“The NA, therefore, urges the general public to discountenance this misinformation, as it is evidently a manipulation and distortion of the truth and reality of the event.”

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