Reintegration of repentant Boko Haram fighters sparks outrage
By John Eche
The reintegration of some 601 repentant Boko Haram fighters into the society, following what has been described as the conclusion of their deradicalisation programme has sparked outrage on Nigerian twitter.
According to the Defence Headquarters, the 601 ex-Boko Haram terrorists include 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger and they are being reintegrated into the society under a Deradicalisation, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, DRR scheme, and through their respective national and state authorities.
The Coordinator of the special scheme set up to run the exercise which is code-named Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa, disclosed this on Saturday at the DRR Camp in Mallam Sidi, Gombe State.
According to Shafa, Operation Safe Corridor is ‘a unique non-kinetic operation aimed at giving hope to ex-combatants, who willingly give up their arms to embrace peace.’
Shedding some more light on the specific processes being utilised by the scheme, Shafa said:
‘On arrival at the camp, the clients went through documentation processes to obtain vital background information after which they were subjected to comprehensive medical screening to determine their health status. Their DNA samples were also collected while their biometrics were captured on national data using the National Identity Management Commission facilities for future references. The background information serves as guide for the experts; Local Treatment Team to properly place the clients for treatment therapies and vocational training. The LTT are specialised experts in various fields of deradicalisation and rehabilitation therapies drawn from the Nigeria Correctional Service.’
Responding however to the initiative, several commentators queried the thoroughness of the scheme, pointing to the fact that the terrorist organisation was indeed not only still engaged in combat operations, but that many of these operations remained lethal and destructive.
Here are some sample tweets:
When @GEJonathan was in power, General @MBuhari complained that ‘the military offensive against Boko Haram is anti North’. Now, the very Boko Haram who rejected education are graduating. Buhari even spent tax payer money to sew nice new graduation clothes for them!’
Buhari loves Boko Haram, today they released another 601 members of the terrorist group.
Meanwhile victims of Boko Haram are languishing in IDP camps, they’re living in fear, tears, sorrow, blood and suffering.’
Army Chief, General Tukur Buratai