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Nigeria to Free All Female Islamist Suspects

  • VOA News

Nigeria says it will release several Islamist suspects from prison, including the women in custody, as it seeks peace with Boko Haram extremists.

The Defense Ministry said Tuesday the move is in line with what it calls "presidential magnanimity to enhance peace efforts."

A panel set up by President Goodluck Jonathan is recommending the government open peace talks with Boko Haram Islamic militants. The group is blamed for a series of deadly terrorist bombings in Nigeria, primarily aimed at police and Christians. Human Rights Watch puts the number of Boko Haram victims at 3,000.

Boko Haram has accused the government of detaining the wives and children of its members.

Also Tuesday, a group called the Northern Elders Forum said it will file a complaint against the Nigerian government with the International Court of Justice. The forum accuses the government of human rights violations, including the killing of civilians in the northeastern town of Baga.

Government backers say the forum has done nothing to help Nigerian authorities prevent violence by Boko Haram. The forum denies it has anything to do with the terrorist group.