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Former Boko Haram Fighters Wait for Rehabilitation Facility

FILE - This photo taken June 17, 2014 shows Cameroonian soldiers standing next to pick up trucks with mounted heavy artillery in Mora, northern Cameroon, which houses a military base where human, logistical resources have been mobilized to face Boko Haram.

The multinational joint task force fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria says it will hold some 200 former terrorists until Cameroon can construct a rehabilitation center where they will be socially integrated before returning to their communities. The ex-terrorists are currently at the barracks of the multinational joint task force in Mora, on Cameroon's northern border with Nigeria.

Soldiers of the Mora camp of the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram sing what is now their regular song after a successful operation. They have just returned from the border with Nigeria with 12 fighters whom they say handed themselves over to the military. Among them is Soule Bupaga, a 22-year-old Nigerian.

He says his wish is to return to his village (at Sanda Wajiri, near Kerawa) in Nigeria and that he regrets all the killings even though they were forced to carry them out. He says what he did was not good.

There are nearly 200 former fighters detained in the camp. Some were arrested during fighting and others handed themselves over to the military. Cameroonian ex-fighter, 26-year old Gouma Wamwha, says he decided to report to the military after he escaped from a Boko Haram training camp in the Nigerian border town of Gambarou, but was barred from entering his village in the Cameroon town of Kolofata.

He says he escaped from a Boko Haram camp with a motorcycle he was given to monitor and report to his former superiors each time a suspected group of people or a strange vehicle was seen approaching.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon's far north region says the government will continue to protect the ex-fighters. He says they have secured land in the border town of Meme were all former fighters will be assisted in reintegrating to society.

He says the ex-fighters have committed to assisting the military in bringing back their peers who are still either hiding in the bush because they are afraid of the military or are still under Boko Haram control.

200 other former Boko Haram fighter are taken care of in the Mozogo local council by the government of Cameroon and UN agencies. Their relatives are not ready to accept them in their villages for fear they may once again be infiltrated by the terrorists. The population says some of them may be spies or have been brainwashed with Boko Haram ideology.