Jonathan orders release of165 Boko Haram suspects- Nigerian Military

Escapee Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau

The suspects were recommended for release by a Joint Investigation Team,

The Defence Headquarters on Friday said that President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered the release of 165 suspected terrorist.

The suspects comprised of people arrested during military operations against the Boko Haram in the North Eastern part of the country.

The military spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, in a statement said that the suspects, mostly those earlier recommended for release by the Joint Investigation Team, JIT, would be released to their respective state governments.

“Over 165 persons apprehended in the course of military operations on terror in three states in the North-East are to be released from custody in compliance with Presidential directive,” Mr. Olukolade, a Major General said

About 157 of the suspects are from facilities in Borno State, nine from Yobe State while one suspect is f1om Adamawa State.

Mr. Olukolade noted that some of the detainees, particularly women and children, earlier benefitted from similar gestures which started in May 2013. He also said that more suspects in this category were to benefit in the present exercise.

JIT report

A 19-member JIT made up of senior officers comprising the military, police, officials of Federal and State Ministries of Justice, Immigration, Prisons and Customs officers was set up by the DHQ in July, 2013. The team was saddled with the responsibility of examining, classifying and recommending appropriate actions against detainees apprehended during operations in the North East. On December 4, 2013 the team recommended that 500 out of almost 1, 400 of the Boko Haram suspects screened, face immediate trial.

The suspects recommended for trial were said to include high profile suspects, some of whom were training other terrorists in weapon handling, as well as also those who confessed to being trained in Mali and other countries for the purpose of perpetrating terror in Nigeria.

In addition, the team recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention and a review of about 614 inconclusive cases.

The report by the team also proposed that some of the detainees be tried for other offences ranging from armed robbery, murder, to drugs related offences.

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