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Nigeria Army Releases 244 Boko Haram Suspects


FILE - Boko Haram militants (in camouflage) embrace and shake hands with Boko Haram prisoners, released in exchange for a group of 82 Chibok girls, who were held captive for three years by Islamist militants, near Kumshe, Nigeria, May 6, 2017.

Nigeria's army has released 244 Boko Haram suspects who have denounced their membership in the deadly extremist group.

Nigerian army operation commander Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas said Tuesday that those released Monday included 118 adult males, 56 women, 19 teens and 51 children. He said they were freed after they were screened and denounced the Nigeria-based insurgency.

The public release at the Maiduguri military barracks was done to mark Nigeria's Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people during its eight-year insurgency. Nigeria has arrested thousands of suspected Boko Haram members in recent years. Human rights groups warn many detainees are arbitrarily arrested.

Nigeria's government established a de-radicalization program in 2016 that offers amnesty for those who repudiated the group.

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