Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has warned military troops on counterterrorism in North-East Nigeria not to maltreat surrendered Boko Haram terrorists.
The Army chief ordered that such suspects must be treated in line with international humanitarian laws and the Nigerian Army Code of Conduct.
This was even as about 315 terrorists who surrendered are being detained in isolated camps to ensure that they submit to state control.
According to a statement by the Defence Headquarters, DHQ Abuja yesterday, the current unfavourable situation for the terrorists in the battlefield has resulted in large number of the insurgents willing to surrender their arms to embrace peace.
It would be recalled that recently, the military high command claimed that hundreds of insurgents have laid down their arms because they were under fire from the military troops and therefore had no option than to surrender. A statement issued yesterday by the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, Buratai who decorated newly promoted officers in the frontline with their new ranks during a routine operational visit to frontline troops in the war zones, warned that such terror suspects must be accorded human dignity and must not be ill-treated, even as he reiterated the military’s determination to end terrorism in Nigeria by December 2015.
Col. Usman’s statement quoted the COAS as saying that, “I want to reassure Nigerians that Nigerian Army is ever determined to succeed in meeting up with the set deadline of defeating Boko Haram terrorists by the end of this year.”
The Army spokesman said the COAS had defied the public holidays to embark on operational and morale boosting trips to troops under Nigerian 3 Division and 7 Division areas of responsibility. He first visited the Army Headquarters, 33 Artillery Brigade, Shadawanka Barracks, Bauchi, where he addressed troops on the on-going operations.
“The Army chief also visited the 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe and Biu where he visited two units; 231 Tank Battalion and 331 Artillery Regiment in Aboge Largema Military Cantonment. He also paid a courtesy visit to the Emir of Biu, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Umar Aliyu, at his palace.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that Buratai was accompanied on the visit by some Principal Staff Officers at the Army Headquarters and the General Officer Commanding 3 Division, Maj.-Gen. HA Umaru and other Commanders.
In the meantime, the DHQ said, so far, military operations in the contested area have yielded remarkable successes, following the immediate review of the security forces strategy, approach and concept of operation designed to neutralize the operational capabilities of the terrorists and rout them out before the year’s end.
The statement by Group Captain Wap Maigida on behalf of the Acting Director Defence Information, Col. Rabe Abubakar, revealed that several strongholds, hideouts and camps of Boko Haram have been cleared and taken over by military forces, and many children and women captives have been released and currently undergoing rehabilitation process in the various established internally displaced persons, IDP Camps.
It said that already, to ameliorate the suffering of the IDP, the DHQ and the services have embarked on aggressive quick impact projects which have significantly improved their wellness.
The military spokesman said, notwithstanding all these efforts and achievements, the intensity and momentum of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations have not subsided as most of the terrorists have been decimated through ongoing clearance operations with their logistics supply routes blocked and lines of communications extended, as part of the final onslaught to neutralize the Sect completely.
The statement revealed further that in accordance with a presidential directive, the DHQ inaugurated a national committee to oversee the creation of safe passageway into the mainstream Nigerian society for members of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The defence information explained that Boko Haram members pencilled for reintegration are those forcefully conscripted into the group and those who have already surrendered and given up their membership of the sect and those willing to renounce their membership.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that members of the committee comprise relevant federal government agencies involved in the counterinsurgency operation and representatives of states in the North East and Jigawa, and that its terms of reference include; to identify implementation partners and establish their responsibilities, to establish a framework for coordination of implementation agencies, to determine funding requirements and sources, to identify technical assistance needs and possible sources, to outline broad information strategies in collaboration with implementation agencies, to determine location of assembly areas, encampment sites, IDP Camps as well as safe corridors and routes, and, finally, to determine the overall security requirements and concerns in the counterinsurgency operation.
The committee which has one month for its assignment will also tackle the creation of mobile offices, access roads, feeding and medical treatment for the IDPs, skill and vocational training for the IDPs, joint media centres and the establishment of necessary structures and receptive centres to resettle repentant terrorist members.


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