Nigerian Army releases 348 ‘cleared’ Boko Haram suspects

In the Borno State capital Saturday, Maiduguri, Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary was marked by the Army handing over of 348 suspected but cleared Boko Haram suspects to the state government.

The event held at the Ramat square civic centre.

The General Officer Commanding, 7 Division Nigeria Army, Victor Ezugwu, said the army had upon the directives of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, investigated the suspects who were arrested at different locations in the state.

Those found to be innocent, were set free, he said.

Some of the cleared suspects said it took the army over five months to screen them and establish that they did nothing wrong.

Mr. Ezugwu, a Brigadier General, said “the review of the cases of terrorists suspects in our custody involves a painstaking and continuous process as directed by the Chief of Army Staff who emplaced measures to guarantee societal and individual human rights”.

He said the division under his command had investigated all suspects arrested and found 348 of them to be in the clear. The number comprises 114 males, 107 females, and 127 children. Among the children, 115 are minors.

The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, who received the cleared Boko Haram suspects, commended the army for ensuring that the suspects’ human rights were protected during their days in custody.

He said the minors who were not with their parents would be taken to state rehabilitation centres for care.

He urged those freed to return to their homes and continue to be law abiding.

The released suspects were given cash and 10 yards of wrappers.

But no formal apology was tendered to them.

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