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Nigeria Pardons 58 Boko Haram Suspects

Suspected Boko Haram militants detained by military in Bukavu Barracks, Kano state, Nigeria, March 2012 file photo.
Nigerian authorities have granted amnesty to 58 women and children who were accused of helping Islamist militants in the country's northeast.

The Nigerian military's Joint Task Force (JTF) released 20 suspects in Borno State and 38 others in Yobe State on Friday, acting on orders from the federal government.

The suspects, who allegedly worked as informants and gun carriers, among other tasks, were released to state officials for rehabilitation.

The amnesty comes as Nigerian forces continue a regional offensive against the militant group known as Boko Haram. The military said Friday it captured another 56 insurgents along with bombs, machetes and other weapons.

The JTF says it is making progress against the militants and has destroyed some of their camps, but assertions remain hard to verify because of curfews, blocked roads and disconnected phone lines in the conflict zone.

Boko Haram, which seeks to impose Islamic law, is blamed for scores of deadly bombings, shootings and raids over the past four years. Human Rights Watch says more than 3,000 people have died in the violence, including hundreds killed by security forces.

Officials releasing the suspects Friday said the women will receive job training to ease their reintegration into society.

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima also said parents of the pardoned children would receive cash rewards if they can keep their kids in school.