Gen K. S Lawan leads delegation of the officials of the Borno State Government to Cameroon, to facilitate the return of Nigerian Citizens.
Troops of the Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF) on Tuesday received 106 civilians who escaped from the Boko Haram terrorists and surrendered. 94 of the escapees were Nigerians, who were handed over to a delegation of Borno government at a remote location in the republic of Cameroon.
Of the 94 Nigerians, there were 37 adult males, 17 adult females and 40 children.
The 106 escapees included Cameroonians and Chadian. Handing them over to Borno Government, Commander of the MNJTF, Maj. Gen Ibrahim Yusuf, said some of the persons of interest voluntarily surrendered to the Headquarters Sector 1 of the MNJTF in far North Cameroon, while the women and children were rescued.
Yusuf said while the military welcomed non-kinetic approach to the War, it warned that operations would continue, adding that it will investigate some of the surrendered persons to ascertain their relationship with the terrorists.
This is a strong indication of success, because, in counter insurgency operations success is measured not just by the number of insurgents that we kill, but as well the number of those that are surrendering, as well as a reduction in their recruitment base. So, obviously this is a success indicator.
“It is because of the Multi National nature of the operations involving Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, that by the concept of our operations, we operate seamlessly and that is why whether they surrender in Nigeria or they surrender in Cameroon, or Niger, it is the same thing for us.
“It is one cohesive force, but the onus now is on us, and we have the guidelines and since they are Nigerians, we have to transfer them to the Nigerian government and the one person from Chad, we have to arrange to get him to Chad, so it is part of our mandate,” Maj. Gen Yusuf said.
In his remarks, Borno’s Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Shehu Lawan, who led six man delegation, including Commissioners of Women Affairs and Religious Affairs and special advisers, said the state government was going to profile, debrief, deradicalize and reintegrate the escapees.
He said those profiled as ex fighters would be sent to Nigerian military’s “Operation Safe Corridor,” while the rescued women will undergo stages of counseling before they are debriefed.
“We received a report that a number of our citizens are here, surrendered to the MNJTF, and we also have others that are not members of the Boko Haram sect, but pursuant to the clearance operation, they were rescued following the liberation of villages they were held captive.
”So we are here to see for ourselves, to ascertain how many of them are truly indigenes of Borno, how many are fighters? How many are not fighters? How many women and children. Secondly, having identified the number of fighters and non-fighters, women and children, we’ll plan for evacuation of those that are innocent, those rescued as a result of clearance operation immediately to Maiduguri, with a view to reintegrating them because, they are innocent.
“And the ones that are fighters, we’ll liase with “operation safe corridor,” and transfer them there with a view to deradicalizing them,” Lawan said.