News / Africa

    76 Hungry Boko Haram Members Surrender to Nigerian Military

    Associated Press

    Dozens of emaciated-looking Boko Haram members begging for food have surrendered in northeast Nigeria, the military and a civilian self-defense fighter said Wednesday.

    Seventy-six people including children and women gave themselves up to soldiers last Saturday in Gwoza, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Maiduguri, according to a senior officer.

    All are being detained at military headquarters in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and currently the command center of the war against the Islamic extremists, according to the officer. He insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.

    The detainees said many more fighters want to surrender, a self-defense civilian fighter who helped escort them to Maiduguri told The Associated Press.

    Food shortages

    Food shortages could indicate that Nigeria's military is succeeding in choking supply routes of the Islamic extremists who have taken their fight across Nigeria's borders. Some 20,000 people have died in the six-year-old uprising. Boko Haram was declared the deadliest of all terror groups in 2014, surpassing the Islamic State group to which it declared allegiance last year.

    Nigeria's military reported that dozens of Boko Haram fighters were surrendering in September and October last year. It promised those who give themselves up voluntarily that they will be rehabilitated through a de-radicalization program.

    In the 10 months since he took office promising to halt the insurgency, President Muhammadu Buhari has replaced the leadership of the military, moved the headquarters for the fight from the distant capital, Abuja, to the heart of the northeastern insurgency and resupplied soldiers.

    The military has driven the insurgents from the towns and villages where they had set up an Islamic caliphate but Boko Haram has returned to hit-and-run tactics and suicide bombings.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    March 02, 2016 12:14 PM
    Surrendering because they’re hungry doesn’t mean change of heart by the insurgents. Are they up to be fed so they can return to the trenches and woods to continue the fight, or they have repented and decided they’ll not carry arms against Nigerians again?

    These hungry miscreants should be detained in proper military facility far from the reach of their cohorts still in the war fronts, for they could be on rekey. But if these idiots are truly hungry in the bush, where is the heaven Shekau promised them? Or will their plenty virgins be given them when they die? It’s impossible to believe that large numbers of insurgents could still move in convoys and the army still claim to have dislodged boko-haram from towns/villages.

    How then do they manage to retain these large retinues, including the large numbers of hostages purportedly freed by both Cameroonian and Nigerian Army? Something isn’t clearly told here, and that’s that the insurgents have somewhere the army either doesn’t know of or deliberately allowed to remain; for purposes best known to them. These volunteer returnees should prove useful when they expose vital secrets about boko-haram hideouts, bomb factories/sposnors and location of the Chibok schoolgirls.

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