Repentant Bokoharam – The Tricks and Intrigues

Salkida ~ release of repentant Boko haram 'Bad strategy'Salkida ~ release of repentant Boko haram 'Bad strategy'

Repentant Bokoharam – The Tricks and Intrigues

By Steven Kefas

Terrorists world over are known to be ideologists with very extreme views mostly towards religion, sectarian or ethnic. Terrorists generally are known to have sets of agendas and oftentimes use lethal force in pursuing same.

Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al-qaeda is believed by many to be the father of modern terrorism. His terroristic activities cut across the Middle East, Africa and even America leaving behind footprints of blood, tears and sorrow.

In Nigeria, terrorism became prevalent with the advent of Boko Haram, an Islamic terror group with headquarters in Borno state, North East region of the country. Even though the group began waging a violent campaign against the Nigerian state following the ‘extrajudicial murder’ of its leader, Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009, it’s ideological activities dated back to 2002 when the group was founded by the late Yusuf.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Islamist insurgencies had killed nearly 350,000 people as of the end of 2020 in Nigeria. The report by the UNDP also said that If the conflict continues to 2030, more than 1.1 million people may die. This places Boko Haram as one of the deadliest terror groups in the world.

Since the coming of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in 2015, the handling of Boko Haram terrorists in detention Facilities across Nigeria took a new controversial dimension with the military launching an operation in 2016, codenamed; Operation Safe Corridor, an initiative for the deradicalisation and rehabilitation of former Boko Haram members. The operation allows Boko Haram terrorists to be reintergrated under the guise of “repentance” or “deradicalization”. The operation has come under severe attack from the public and even some government officials in Borno state including the state governor, Babagana Zulum.

In November 2020, Senator representing Borno South in the National Assembly, Ali Ndume publicly kicked against the rehabilitation of ‘repented’ Boko Haram terrorists. Ndume while speaking on the floor of the senate says;

“I personally disagree with that. The war is not over and some criminals that have been killing people, you say that you are doing Operation Safe Corridor for them.

“I am completely against that idea. They know my position on that, you can’t do that.

“It is when you win the war and some people surrender that you think about something like that,” Ndume said on the floor of the Senate where a Bill which is aimed at creating a national agency that would see to the rehabilitation, de-radicalization, and integration of repentant insurgents in the country was being deliberated

Ndume who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Senate committee on Army added that the idea of the bill will only make Boko Haram have more recruits since they are sure of rehabilitation and reintegration into society in later time.

“You are just telling people to go and join Boko Haram and then repent and become something (sic) that’s a totally unacceptable idea and a way of solving the problem.” Ndume said.

Borno state Governor, Babagana Zulum has also expressed reservation over the ‘deradicalization’ of former Boko Haram terrorists.

“Another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of deradicalisation of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities,” he said.

Governor Zulum also confirmed the fears of many Nigerians that Boko Haram terrorists like other terrorists across the world do not genuinely repent but fake repentance to get away unpunished when arrested by the security when he said;

“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalisation or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor initiative, or have been deradicalised, usually go back and rejoin the terror group after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.

“In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been deradicalised, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.” Zulum said.

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