The Nigerian Army on Thursday announced that another batch of 80 Boko Haram fighters surrendered to its troops in Bama, Borno state, in what has now been described as a landmark event.
The announcement came six days after the Army said another 200 terrorists surrendered to it and turned in their weapons.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, the spokesperson for the Army, Sani Usman, said among those who surrendered Thursday were commanders, suppliers and foot soldiers who participated in past battles by the terrorist group.
“In a landmark event today, 80 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered en mass to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in Bama, Borno State,” Mr. Usman, a colonel, said.
“The terrorists among whom were commanders, suppliers and foot soldiers confirmed to have partook in several terrorists attacks especially on Bama town, Borno State, surrendered as a result of the intense heat and continuous offensive action embarked by troops.
“It would be recalled that we have repeatedly stated that surrender is the only option available to insurgents as the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force in conjunction with other security agencies are totally committed to the achievement of the three months presidential deadline for the eradication of terrorism in Nigeria.
“Other terrorists are encouraged to also surrender or face total annihilation. As the new name of the operation states ‘achievement of total peace is a must’.
“Citizens are please requested to continue providing useful information to security agencies that will lead to apprehension of all known terrorists.”
The reported surrender of the terrorists followed a series of such claims in the past one month by the Nigerian military.
The Army had on September 25 said 200 self-acclaimed terrorists turned themselves in just as Nigerian troops captured Banki, an economically important and strategic town noted for fishing, and where major economic and trading activities between Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African countries take place.
On September 13, the Army said scores of members of the Boko Haram insurgent group surrendered their arms after they realised that the ‘new strategies’ being deployed by soldiers was becoming successful.
A similar claim was made on September 22 when the Defence Headquarters said 10 terrorists surrendered to troops at Kawuri village in Borno State.
Two days later, on September 24, the military circulated a statement saying another batch of 135 Boko Haram members surrendered with their weapons around Biu Local Government Area of Borno State.
And six days ago – September 19 – Mr. Usman said another batch of eight self-acclaimed terrorists surrendered to troops of 21 Brigade of the Nigerian Army.
So far, PREMIUM TIMES has been unable to independently verify the surrenders, as the repenting terrorists are yet to be paraded before journalists.