By John Ikani
The Nigerian Army has explained that it cannot kill surrendered terrorists as the global convention for which Nigeria is signatory does not allow such treatment.
The explanation given by Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu became necessary following calls in some quarters on the military to kill surrendered terrorists instead of reintegrating them into the society.
But speaking in an interview with newsmen, Nwachukwu said: “As a professional military, our role is to take them into custody, profile them and hand them over to relevant agencies of the state for further action.”
He reiterated that the military does not have the powers to prosecute the terrorists whether captured in battle or voluntarily surrendered ones.
“It is not in the purview of the military to prosecute or set them free. It will also be prejudicial to mete out any punitive measure on our part. We cannot as a professional military take laws into our hands.
“This should not be misinterpreted as compromise or weakness. Rather, it should be seen as abiding by global laws of conflict and the provision of the constitution of Nigeria,” he said.
He added that the surrendered insurgents are not camped with the internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“These are two different categories of people. Surrendering insurgents are held in different holding facilities, not IDPs camps,” he said.
What you should know
In the last three months, over 3,000 Boko Haram /Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have either been captured or surrendered to troops of “Operation Hadin Kai” in the North East zone.
The figure includes the 1,009 suspects who were cleared and released to Borno State government on July 14, 2021.
Nwachukwu, said the gale of surrendering is due to a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to tackle the situation in North East Nigeria that is yielding results.
He said the surrendering insurgents have decided to abandon their cause and struggle, having realised that it is a struggle in futility.