After losing Sambisa, Boko Haram fighters surrender to Niger Republic authorities

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army troops clearing Boko Haram enclaves along Bitta to Tokumbere, Sambisa Forest, Borno state
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army troops clearing Boko Haram enclaves along Bitta to Tokumbere, Sambisa Forest, Borno state

Days after losing their major stronghold, Sambisa Forest, in Nigeria’s north-east to the country’s forces, dozens of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered to authorities in neighbouring Niger Republic.

The Niger Interior Minister on Wednesday said dozens of Boko Haram fighters gave themselves up to authorities in southern Niger.

Minister Mohamed Bazoum said that 31 young people from Diffa, who were enrolled a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender.

The fighters arrived in the remote desert town of Diffa in groups and were being held by local authorities.

“I learned that the first who surrendered were not arrested, and I surrendered.

“We expect a pardon from the government so that we can participate in the development of the country and help us get rid of the trauma,’’ a former Boko Haram combatant told journalists.

In June, tens of thousands of people fled Diffa as Boko Haram swept the region.

However five Niger soldiers were killed by the militants near Diffa in September.

It was not clear what would become of the ex-Boko Haram fighters, but authorities said there was the possibility of reintegrating them back into society.

A security source told Reuters that a meeting was planned for Wednesday in Diffa to discuss “the conditions of surrender.” The source did not provide further details.

Boko Haram has killed over 20,000 people and displaced over 2 million since 2009 in an insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria.

In recent years its attacks have spilled into neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Hundreds of Boko Haram fighters surrendered in Chad in October and November as the group ceded territory.

The group controlled an area about the size of Belgium in early 2015 but has since been pushed back by international forces including troops from Niger.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said Nigeria’s army captured its last enclave in the vast Sambisa forest on Friday.

The Nigerian Army has since said it recovered a Quran and a flag belonging to the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in Sambisa.

Lucky Irabor, a major general, said Mr. Shekau escaped when authorities took over the forest.

The Army has also said it would turn the vast area of the forest to a military training ground.

Mr. Irabor also said on Wednesday that the Nigerian Army said arrested about 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists during a mop-up operation by troops inside the Sambisa forest.

Mr. Irabor, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this while giving update to journalists on Operation Rescue Final at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

He said that 413 of the suspects were adults, 323 were female adults, 251 male children, while 253 were female children.

He said that the suspects were apprehended during a mop-up operation against the sect members in the forest.

“We are interrogating them to know whether they are Boko Haram members, because there is no way somebody that is not their member would live inside Sambisa forest.

“We are still on the trail of the terrorists and I want to assure you that all escape routes have been blocked.

The commander also confirmed the surrender of some insurgents to Niger authorities.

“Within this period, also, about 30 fleeing suspected Boko Haram members have surrendered to the Niger Multinational Troops on the shores of the lake Chad and we learnt that they were taken to Diffa in the Niger Republic.

“The suspects include 24 males and six females.

“We would like to use this opportunity to encourage the terrorists to give up the fight because the window is still open,” the commander said.


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  • PolyGon2013

    The army should have buried those captured combatant alive!

    • Ade

      Nope, Elrufai, Emir sanusi and the sultan of sokoto with the support of Buhari will freed them! Or have you seen any Boko haram suspect convicted??

      • Mallam

        Just like the amnesty programme of the Niger delta. Both of them are terrorism and criminals.

  • Truthometer

    For those who are doubting Buhari and his military, this is your answer. Thank you, gallant Nigeria soldiers.

  • Mamusca

    One man drives a truck into a market in Germany and kills 12 people. Within one week, the man is killed. His cousins, uncle and friend have all been detained and are being quizzed bt the German police. Phone records and communication prior to attack and during the period the terrorist was on the run are been evaluated by the security forces.

    Fulani Herdsmen (4th most deadly Islamic terrorist group in the world) enter a Southern Kaduna community and kill 23 people. Some were beheaded and others shot at point blank or why fleeing. Their homes burnt and animals killed. 4 days after, neither Buhari, presidency or the ministry of interior says anything. The useless spokesman of Buhari (Femi Adesina) stuns the world by saying Buhari is silent because the Governor (A full blown terrorist sympathizer) is handling the situation. No arrests. No situation updates. No names of the victims as usual is ever released.

    So, is this the Nigeria one should be proud to be from. NEVER!…Instead of telling us where the leader of Boko haram is hiding, the Army is telling us about the Koran of Shekau…and the 200 million Mumus in Nigeria are expected to accept these stories hook line and sinker…….I need my separate country asap. This government is evil.

    • Mufu Ola

      Like “thusspokez” wrote you’re a complete dud. You’re just writing rubbish.

  • PLAN A

    I’m amazed by the number of times Shekau has died….only to finally ESCAPE without his Quran!

  • Mamusca

    BUT why is the Buhari government preventing Chibok girls from speaking with journalists, their familes and the outside world. Is this new captivity not worse that the one by Boko haram (i.e., if they were ever in captivity)?

    My people, I have heard a very strong rumour that the girls are been brainwashed and fed with some pills that will erase their memory so that by the time they are released by Buhari and his men, they would have forgotten all that happened to them in their first round of 1.5yrs in captivity. This is why they are keeping the girls away, so they do not reveal the exact places they were held in some palaces of Emirs, houses of politicians etc…after all, the army says Sambissa is cleared and the question is: Where are the other 159 girls?

    • thusspokez

      My people, I have heard a very strong rumour that the girls are been brainwashed and fed with some pills that will erase their memory

      Why had you chosen to be so ignorant or spread innuendos, rumours and outright lies? You could find a lot of news report about these girls on Nigerian websites but also on western website like CNN.

      That you don’t know that these girls since being released by boko haram have been undergoing medical and psychological assessments and treatments in Abuja?

      Take a look at yourself because Nigerians like you are equally responsible as corrupt politicians for the backwardness of Nigeria.

      • Arkhuma

        Can’t you see his name, mumusca.

  • thusspokez

    We expect a pardon from the government

    What arrogance.You expect to be pardon after killing thousands, kidnapping and turning people’s lives upside down? You have the nerve! I am tempted to say that one bullet to your head is what your deserve.

    The Niger government should prosecute and sentence them to hard labour in the Northern Niger desert. Nigeria should help the poverty-stricken Niger with cost of their imprisonment and training whilst in prison. Nigeria should not accept them back yet because there are no jobs for them — meaning that they would easily be lured into criminality and terrorism in no time.

    • Arkhuma

      Same here

  • Freedom Bini

    They only returned to where they came from.

  • Ijalu

    Nothing will happen to the captured Boko Haram fighters. No consequence whatsoever for their atrocities. Buhari will bless them with money to enable them rehabilitate. Just watch and see.

    • Arkhuma

      Just as the Niger Deltan militants are pampered with state money and amnesty despite their numerous crimes. Thus, if he does that, he’s only following the precedence set by his predecessors. Until we abhor all forms of crimes as a nation and institute a zero reward for any atrocity, we will continue to move in circles. Even we the most pauperized of people still reward crime by falling over ourselves to honour criminals and the corrupt in our midst by awarding them titles and reserving the front rows of social functions to them just to nip from their loot. So, before pointing a finger to someone look at yourself first.

      • Samadani

        Already, Deltans are well set to receive Ibori, the very person who looted their treasury which is majorly responsible for their impoverishment. God dey!

  • real

    well done Nigeria army. even though Nigeria government continue to fail to take care of your welfare or even feed you. now please push on and capture their leader.

  • CeeCee1818

    Hopefully more will surrender. Torture them to reveal the whereabouts of the girls.

  • Burning Spear

    I do not know the type of Journalism that Premium Times often practices in Nigeria————–Sambisa Forest is in Nigeria not Niger Republic—————So if any of the Fulani boko haram fighters surrenders—-to the authorities in Niger Republic —-they should be sent back to Nigeria to face trial–right here—————-The idea of Bingo Buhari encouraging the Fulani cowhands who sneaked back into Niger Republic to be granted amnesty after the murder of over 100,000 Nigerians should not be acceptable to any civilized mind————–Added to the fact recently the mumu Fulani governor of kaduna state revealed that most of the Fulanis who have been killing Nigerians in Plateau//Benue and farmers in the south east hail from Niger republic–Chad and sudan————–The question is when are these murderers going to be brought to trial—————if Okah an Ijaw man could be sent to jail in south Africa over crimes he committed in Nigeria why not the Fulanis from the West African sub region—–with the innocent blood of Nigerians dripping down their luciferic Fulani souls-?———————-

    • sunday

      You have a good point which has been depointed by the hatred in your heart. You have good ideas that can make Nigeria better. But try and eschew hatred which you so much propagate now.

  • The Optimist

    This ridicules our security apparatus. How were the terrorists able to evade detection as they fled? What are the numerous military check points meant for? Things need an overhauling!

    • Arkhuma

      Easy to sit in the comfort of your room and critique military tactics. Nobody ever said the forest was encircled before the onslaught. They escaped before an advancing army. Military check points are mounted where you’ve captured and not where you are yet to claim. Please give some credits to the soldiers even if that’s the only patriotic thing you can do.

      • Samadani

        Good talk!

  • Tonnero

    When Nigeria succeeds in anything, Biafrans are sad. Very sad. They only rejoice when things are not going well for Nigeria because they think that validates their hate-filled position that the country will never work. Pathetic.