[QODLink]
Africa

Nigeria to free Boko Haram members

Military says it will release a number of Boko Haram members, including all women, in what it calls a peace bid.

Last Modified: 21 May 2013 19:21
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Nigeria has announced it will release a number of Boko Haram members, including all women, in what it called a peace bid as its military waged operation in the country's northeast to clamp down on the armed group.

The news of the prisoner release was announced on Tuesday shortly after the government relaxed the curfew in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and a stronghold of Boko Haram, which has been fighting the government to enforce Islamic laws.

"The (prisoner release) measure, which is in line with presidential magnanimity to enhance peace efforts in the country, will result in freedom for suspects including all women under custody," a statement by defence spokesperson Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said.

Olukolade's statement said President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered the prisoner releases on the recommendation of a panel he set up to seek a political solution to the conflict.

Jonathan offered an amnesty on Sunday to fighters who surrender, a sign he is keen to keep channels for a peaceful way out of the conflict open as far as possible.

Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the base of the military offensive, said the detained Boko Haram suspects will be released to the state governors "for rehabilitation and eventual release back to the community".

Our correspondent is also reporting that all women connected to Boko Haram activities will also be released.

In his latest video this month, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau accused security forces of detaining the wives and children of its members.

Earlier, the city residents were able to go outside their homes during the day after the army issued a statement late on Monday easing the curfew from 7am local time (06:00 GMT) until 5pm (16:00 GMT).

Nigeria's military on Saturday imposed a 24-hour curfew in parts of the northeastern city, as soldiers poured in the region that saw people fleeing from their homes.

The country launched the sweeping operation last week, deploying thousands of troops across three states - Adamawa, Borno and Yobe - where President Jonathan declared a state of emergency a week ago after the fighters seized territory and chased out the government.

The military said dozens of fighters had been killed in the offensive targeting all three states put under emergency decree.

About 120 of the fighters have also been arrested and are being interrogated, the military said in a statement.

401

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list