Nigeria to free 167 held in Boko Haram raids: Military

Last Updated: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 21:34

Abuja: Nigeria`s military on Friday confirmed that it was to release 167 people who were detained as part of counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram militants in three northeast states.

Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said the suspects were to be freed after a directive from the presidency following their recommendation for release in December last year.

A total of 157 people would be released from military facilities in Borno, nine from Yobe and one from Adamawa, he added. All three states have been subject to emergency rule since May last year.

"The suspects will be released to their respective state governments," Olukolade said in an emailed statement, without indicating a time frame.

Nigeria announced on December 4 that 500 of the nearly 1,400 people who were arrested in security operations between July and September last year should be put on trial for terror offences.

But it also said that 167 people should be released and the cases of 614 individuals should be reviewed, following the government`s appointment of a team to look at individual cases.

President Goodluck Jonathan`s government announced last May that suspects held as part of military operations would be released in phases, starting with women and children.

Thousands of people have lost their lives during the insurgency in Nigeria`s north, either in Islamist attacks or as a result of the military response.

Human rights groups, however, have highlighted the issue of enforced disappearances and detention without charge of suspected militants, as military operations against Boko Haram were stepped up.

In October last year, Amnesty International claimed that more than 950 people had died in military custody in the first six months of 2013, mostly at barracks in Maiduguri and Damaturu.

Maiduguri and Damaturu are the state capitals of Borno and Yobe states respectively.

First Published: Friday, January 10, 2014 - 21:34
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