Repentant Terrorists Will Take Up Arms If Nigerians Reject Them, Says Government

Nigerians have a duty to accept Boko Haram’s “repentant” Islamist terrorists into their communities, otherwise they will take up arms and resume terrorism, says the Nigerian government.

Nigeria released 601 captured Boko Haram fighters, under a de-radicalization and rehabilitation program code called ‘Operation Safe Corridorʼ.

The victims of the insurgency in the Northeast spoke out against the program which they said was a way of rewarding terrorists.

Reports from various sources claimed that the freed terrorists are at the root of the worsening insecurity in many communities, and that others among them have joined the Islamic terrorist group which has killed thousands of people in this oil-rich African country.

“The public needs to be reassured that the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists of the Buhari administration code named ‘Operation Safe Corridor,’ follows an established example from countries with similar experiences, and is supported academically and materially by the European Union and the United Nations.

“At the point of their graduation, a determination is made that the former combatants have repented and are better citizens, imbued with genuine nationalism. They must no longer represent a danger to society or to themselves.

“Where they are certified as such, communities have the duty of accepting them. Unless they want them to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they have repented, community leaders must work with the relevant agencies to end their rejection,” Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement on Wednesday.

Shehu also denied reports claiming that the government is absorbing “freed terrorists” into the military.

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