The Nigeria military on Wednesday paraded 57 ex-Boko Haram fighters who recently surrendered to troops in Borno state.
The army had earlier announced that about 700 Boko Haram fighters gave up their struggle and gave themselves up to troops around Gwoza Local Government Area of the state.
The military command and control centre in Maiduguri on Wednesday told journalists at a press briefing that the 57 paraded Boko Haram members were part of the 70 insurgents who surrendered to troops.
The head of the army’s counterinsurgency operation, Ibrahim Attahiru, said the 57 paraded persons are those that have been screened by the military, while 13 others are still in the process of being profiled.
Mr. Attahiru, a major general, did not explain if the 70 Boko Haram members are part of the 700 the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, said on Tuesday had surrendered.
Journalists at the press briefing were not allowed to have detail interviews with the paraded suspects as Mr. Attahiru and his officers said doing so would jeopardise the safety of the surrendered suspects as well as put their families in danger.
One of the paraded fighters told journalists that they could only speak on strict condition of anonymity because they fear attacks by Boko Haram should they be identified.
“We plead that our photos and video images as well as our names should not be publicised in the media because our former members have the capacity of trailing us or our family members”, said one of the suspects.
“We have been with the Boko Haram for about three years since they attacked our community and forced us to join them. We know how dangerous they are and we decided to escape and leave them because we found out that they have been deceiving us all the while.
“They were not practicing any true religion and that was why we decided to part ways with them,” he said.
About 100,000 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency started in 2009. The group is still able to carry out attacks despite losing most of the territory they once controlled to the Nigerian military.