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Nigerian Military Running Out Of Space For Holding Boko Haram Defectors

Nigeria’s counter-insurgency commander says over 67,000 persons have surrendered to authorities, stretching existing facilities. 

Authorities are running out of space for accommodating and processing over 67,000 persons associated with Boko Haram after their surrender to counter-insurgency forces in Northeast Nigeria

The commander of the operation in the region, Major General Chris Musa, disclosed the situation during a recent briefing on operations and challenges, including the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Since the death of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and the conquest of the group’s stronghold of Sambisa forest, tens of thousands of people, including combatants and civilians, have fled hinterland areas and surrendered to authorities.

From a few hundred, the number had rapidly grown to nearly 70,000. Many defectors are housed in three government facilities in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, and Bama town in the central part of the State. 

The Army General noted that while the mass surrender by terrorists was a good development for the counterinsurgency operation, the military and government are fast losing the capacity to accommodate the growing number, which has “overstretched” the current holding facilities. 

“We are faced with the urgent need to open another camp to accommodate the surrendering terrorists, hence we need support to achieve that,” he said. 

The state Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno recently inaugurated a committee to manage the insurgents surrendering to authorities, including their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

The community would also manage the repatriation of Borno citizens living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

The governor also highlighted the challenge of space to accommodate defectors as all the three camps have been filled to capacity, disclosing that the government had discussed with the head of the military operation in the state om the need to have bigger camps.


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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist who has provided extensive coverage of the Lake Chad conflict in north-eastern Nigeria for over a decade. A graduate of English Language with a Diploma in Mass Communications. He previously worked as an assistant editor with Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper. Haruna has a strong knowledge of the Northeast and follows the trends in the region closely.

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