General Farouk Yahaya [Photo: Mohammed Yerima].

The Nigerian Army on Thursday denied releasing detained fighters of Boko Haram terrorist group.

The denial is in reaction to media reports that the military secretly released to the Borno State government about 1,009 persons said to be fighters of Boko Haram terrorists captured in the ongoing war against insurgency.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwahuckwu, the military said the over 1000 suspects it recently freed are not former Boko Haram fighters as speculated in some quarters.

Mr Nwachukwu explained that the released persons are part of the ongoing Counter Terrorism Counter Insurgency Operations (CTCOIN) in the North-East.

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“It is an indisputable fact that the ongoing Counter Terrorism Counter Insurgency Operations (CTCOIN) in the North-East has led to the arrest of several terrorism/insurgency suspects,” he said.

“These suspects have been held in custody, while undergoing profiling and further investigations by experts from the Joint Investigation Centre (JIC) and those who are found culpable are usually handed over to prosecuting agencies accordingly, while those who are not implicated in terrorism and insurgency are cleared and released to the state government for rehabilitation before they are reintegrated into the society. 

“These cleared suspects are therefore not ex Boko Haram fighters, as peddled in the reports. A total of 1009 cleared suspects, not ex fighters, were therefore released after this rigorous process on Wednesday. 

“It is also necessary to categorically state that the handing over of the cleared suspects was not shrouded in secrecy as it was witnessed by United Nations Humanitarian and government agencies, in tandem with global best practice,” he added.

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