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Army not recruiting ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members – Irabor

THE Nigerian Army has debunked widespread insinuations that repentant Boko Haram terrorists were being recruited into the service.

Speaking during a military stakeholders meeting organized by the Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) held at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, said there was no truth in stories making the rounds that former Boko Haram insurgents are being absolved into the Nigerian Army.

Irabor said there were about 559 ex-Boko Haram members who were undergoing rehabilitation under a programme being handled by the OPSC on Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) in Gombe State, and there were no plans to recruit them into the military on the completion of the programme.

Irabor, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said:

“The DRR Programme consists of psychological humanitarian treatments that reassure and provide alternatives to low-profile combatants through psycho-social/psycho-spiritual therapies, recreations, vocational training, and introductory western education, thereby countering BHT/ISWAP ideologies and reducing their recruitment drive while depleting the critical mass of their fighting force.”

He added that the approaches, practices, procedures, strategies, and tactics of the military in its counter-insurgency operation had continued to evolve to effectively tackle the amorphous nature of the threat.

“The initial response was a single service operation limited to only the formations and units based in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.

“However, as time passed, several task forces were formed, eventually leading to the formation of a Theatre Command with several components including a Naval Task Force and an Aviation Task Force to weaken the insurgents,” Irabor said.

The Coordinator, OPSC, Brig.-Gen. Joseph Maina, said the OPSC had admitted over 1,070 clients comprising 1,064 Nigerians and 16 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger since 2016.

“All the foreign clients were transferred to their respective national authorities for reintegration.

“Presently, there are 559 clients undergoing the programme in the camp, out of which two clients are Chadian citizens.

“It’s also important to mention that one client was repatriated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital for expert psychiatric management during the initial documentation stages of the programme,” he said.

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