Displacement & MigrationFeaturedImpactNews

Nigerian Military Releases More Men Imprisoned For Years Without Trial

The Nigerian military has released more than 400 men, arbitrarily detained during the conflict in the northeast. Among them are hundreds of husbands of the Knifar Women, the campaign group made up of the wives and mothers of some of the detained men.

The Nigerian military has released a new group of hundreds of men arbitrarily detained over the past decade.

The group of men, at least 400 strong, is believed to include many of the husbands of the Knifar Women, a campaign group for wives trying to track down husbands who were arrested by the military.

The men, mostly detained between 2014 and 2016, were released between April 5 and 6  from facilities across the country, in Lagos, Kainji in Northcentral Nigeria, and Giwa Barracks in the Northeast

They were transported to a camp in Gombe. From there, they were bussed to Maiduguri, and then the majority were taken to Bama. They were then released, expected to make their own way to their homes, HumAngle understands.

None of the men have been put on trial or had access to a lawyer. They mostly fled their communities in places like Bama, Andara, Boboshe, and other communities in Borno state, Northeast Nigeria, when the Boko Haram insurgency first erupted. 

As towns continued to fall to terrorists, residents left their homes heading for Maiduguri. The fleeing men were then picked up by the Nigerian Army, profiled as terrorists and imprisoned. 

HumAngle has spoken to dozens of men released previously who insist there was never any evidence levelled against them. While in detention, they were completely cut off from their families, who only relied on faith that they were alive. 

Their wives and mothers, who were separated from them at the point of arrest, went on to form the Knifar Movement, through which they advocated for the release of their male relatives.

In this recent batch of releases there is a man, HumAngle understands has been in detention for 13 years. His wife is one of the Knifar women, she has remarried under the impression that her husband had died.

There have been cases where the women died before they received news of their husbands. 

The first leader of the movement, Kellu Haruna, campaigned for the release of her husband and thousands of others, insisting that they were not terrorists until she died from a stroke after discovering her husband was still alive. After years of hearing no news of him, Kellu finally received a video of him in detention. She collapsed, went into shock and died a day later.

Kellu Haruna stands in the midst of some members of Knifar.

HumAngle previously reported on Zara, another woman whose husband had been in detention for so long that when she heard from multiple sources that he had died, she had no choice but to believe it, mourn him, and remarry. Years later, however, her husband returned, and she was caught in the unpleasant situation of divorcing one man for the other.

Since the group’s formation and HumAngle’s coverage of their activities and the detention of these displaced men, several batches of them have been released, numbering over a thousand at the latest count. 

In some cases, the military admitted that they were, in fact, not terrorists but did nothing to compensate them for the years lost.

Support Our Journalism

There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.

To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.

Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.

Donate Here

Of course, we want our exclusive stories to reach as many people as possible and would appreciate it if you republish them. We only ask that you properly attribute to HumAngle, generally including the author's name, a link to the publication and a line of acknowledgement. Contact us for enquiries or requests.

Contact Us

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu is the Managing Editor at HumAngle. She researches and investigates terrorism & insurgency and its human cost and aftermath, particularly how they affect transitional justice issues, displacement, migration, and women. She is a 2023 Pulitzer Centre grantee, a 2023 International Women Media Fund awardee, and a 2022 Storify Africa fellow, among several others.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Translate »