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3,559 Cleared of Ties With Boko Haram/ISWAP Released from Military Custody Since 2016

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday said that the Nigerian military has released over 3,559 Boko Haram terrorists suspects from custody since 2016.

UNICEF, in a statement on Wednesday by its Communications Officer, Mr Sam Kaalu, also said that a total of 223 children, including 10 girls, were released from Nigerian Army administrative custody and Maiduguri Maximum Security Prison on Tuesday night, after they were cleared of suspected ties to Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) terrorists’ groups.

The UNICEF Spokesperson said that “out of the 3,559 persons released, there were altogether 1,743 children (1,125 boys, 618 girls). And they have gone through the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Center in Maiduguri in Borno State and have been reunited with their families or placed in the most appropriate alternative care, where they are accessing rehabilitation services and reintegration support in their communities.”

Mr Kaalu, who said the suspects were released to the safe custody of the Northeast State of Borno Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the UNICEF and other Borno State officials in Maiduguri, stated that the children will now immediately enter a programme that will help them reintegrate into their communities, re-engage with their families, and take the first steps towards creating a new life and means of livelihood. Some of the children.

Most of the released children, Kaalu noted, had been missing for up to four to five years, with many presumed dead by their families. “

He quoted the UNICEF Representative, Mr Peter Hawkins, as saying that “the release of these children is a huge step forward and one to be welcomed and celebrated. These children deserve to have a normal childhood – and now require our full care and support to re-enter the lives that were so brutally interrupted by this devastating conflict.”

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