- The Nigerian Army has cleared the air on why it cannot kill surrendered Boko Haram terrorists as some Nigerians have demanded
- Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, the Army spokesperson, said the international which Nigeria is signatory does not give room for that
- The Army spokesperson further explained that it is not within the powers of the military to prosecute the terrorists
Leadership reported that the Army spokesperson, Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in an interview.
He reiterated that troops deployed for “Operation Hadin Kai” accept surrendered Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorists in conformity with the international laws and treaties of armed conflict.
Legit.ng notes that the explanation was offered amid the calls in some quarters on the military to kill the surrendered terrorists instead of reintegrating them into the society.
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It is gathered that over 3,000 Boko Haram /Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have either been captured or surrendered to troops in the northeast in the last three months.
Why terrorists are surrendering
Nwachukwu also said the gale of surrendering being witnessed is due to a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to tackle the situation that is yielding results.
He explained the surrendering insurgents have decided to abandon their cause and struggle, having realised that it is a struggle in futility.
“Strategic conflict mitigation provides avenue for surrendering insurgents, who having realised that ISWAP is working against the group interest, rather than the common cause of the so-called union of ISWAP/BHT."
He said Boko Haram commanders have been systematically eliminated by ISWAP high command while the foot soldiers have been relegated.
This, according to him, is why the Boko Haram terrorists are surrendering instead of aligning with ISWAP to pursue the interests of foreign non-state actors.
“As a professional military, our role is to take them into custody, profile them and hand them over to relevant agencies of the state for further action.”
Military does not have power to prosecute terrorists
The spokesman of the Nigerian Army said the military does not have the powers to prosecute the terrorists whether captured in battle or voluntarily surrendered ones.
“It is not in the purview of the military to prosecute or set them free. It will also be prejudicial to mete out any punitive measure on our part. We cannot as a professional military take laws into our hands.
“This should not be misinterpreted as compromise or weakness. Rather, it should be seen as abiding by global laws of conflict and the provision of the constitution of Nigeria.”
He also clarified that added that the surrendered insurgents are not camped with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
What I will do regarding ongoing surrender terrorists - Zulum
In a statement posted on the governor's official Facebook page, he said Borno state is in a ‘catch-22 situation' over the unfolding development.
The governor, however, said he will consult with President Muhammadu Buhari, service chiefs, traditional leaders and victims of the terrorists to know the way forward.