By RABIU SANI
No fewer than 27 Boko Haram insurgents have voluntarily surrendered to the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, in Maiduguri.
The Theatre Commander, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, made the disclosure while brifing newsmen at the Military Command and Control Centre, Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
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“What we are trying to do is to encourage others who are in the bush to also come out and surrender.
“The intention of the military is not to kill anybody because these are Nigerians.
“We want to see how we can get them, de-radicalise them and take them back to their families that is the mission we are doing now.
“It is the stabilisation part of the operation; a lot has been done on the operation in Sambisa Forest and other areas.
“The measure is to encourage them to surrender their weapons and we pick them up to de-radicalise and hand them over to the state government to reunite them with their families.
“This was not how they were when they came out from the bush, we cleaned them, gave them medication, fed and clothed them.’’
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He explained that 26 Boko Haram insurgents surrendered their weapons in Damboa while one surrendered at the Magumeri axis.
The commander added that more Boko Haram terrorists had also indicated their willingness to surrender in view of the successes recorded by the military in the operation.
Nicholas noted that the Federal Government had initiated the Operation Safe Corridor to facilitate de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of the repentant insurgents into the society.
Nicholas called on the media to create awareness on the ongoing operations to encourage the insurgents to surrender, adding that surrendered insurgents would not be harmed or killed.
Some of the repentant insurgents told newsmen that they denounced the sect’s ideologies due to atrocities perpetrated by their commanders.
Abubakar Modu, a repentant insurgent from the Albarnawi faction, said that hundreds of people died in their hideout due to hunger and starvation.
Modu added that he and other insurgents escaped from the camp in Sambisa forest and surrendered to the troops.
“Over 100 persons including women, children and the aged died in the camp in the past few weeks due to starvation.
“We were living a miserable life and suffered from inhuman treatment from the Boko Haram commanders.
“We were fed on weeds and leaves to survive,” he said.
Modu who advised other insurgents still in the bush to come out and surrender, lauded the military for caring for him and other repentant insurgents. (NAN)