By Lillian Ogbonna (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Following the flaks it has received from a large section of the public, due to its amnesty programme for repentant members of Boko Haram, under the Operation Safe Corridor programme, the Nigerian military has moved to throw more light on the rationale behind the controversial initiative.
Making the clarifications during a media parley on Thursday, DHQ spokesperson, Major-General John Enenche, disclosed that that those released were categorised as Boko Haram victims themselves because they were forcefully conscripted by the Islamist group, adding that the military had taking steps to profile and confirm them to be “low risk”.
Operation Safe Corridor, a multi-agency humanitarian effort, led by Defence Headquarters (DHQ), was launched in 2016 to encourage Boko Haram terrorists to surrender. The initiative is meant to de-radicalise, rehabilitate and Re-Integrate (DRR) repentant members of the Jihadist terror group that has fought an internecine war of attrition with Nigerian and multinational security forces in the North-East since 2009.
Since 2016, when the programme commenced, approximately 881 former operatives of the terror group have been released.
Boko Haram’s 11 years insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East region has resulted in both civilian and military causality, with the group committed to its goal of carving out an Islamic state out of Nigeria, and the determination of the country’s military to check its territorial ambitions. The splintering of the group has seen the emergence of another version known as the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).