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Borno receives 94 persons ‘who escaped from Boko Haram captivity’

The Borno state government says it has received 94 persons — including 40 children — who escaped from Boko Haram captivity.

A delegation of state government officials were at the republic of Chad to receive the victims.

In a statement, Isa Gusau, the governor’s spokesman, said the victims — 37 adult males, 17 adult females and 40 children —  were rescued by the troops of the multi-national joint task force (MNJTF) during a major offensive against the insurgents.

He said Ibrahim Yusuf, the MNJTF commander, handed them over to the state government.

Isa quoted him as saying that “some of the captives voluntarily surrendered to the headquarters sector 1 of the MNJTF in far north Cameroon, while the women and children were rescued.’’

According to the statement, some of those who surrendered would be investigated to ascertain their relationship with the insurgents.

“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,” Yusuf was quoted to have said.

“So, obviously, this is a success indicator. It is because of the multinational nature of the operations involving Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. 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.”

Kakashehu Lawan, Borno commissioner for justice who received the victims on behalf of the state government, said they will be profiled and reintegrated into the society.

“The state government is going to profile, debrief, deradicalise and reintegrate the escapees to live normal lives with their families,” 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 counselling before they are debriefed.

“We received a report that a number of our citizens 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.

“Secondly, having identified the number of fighters and non-fighters, women and children, we will 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.”

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