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The military has released 182 suspects detained in connection with Boko Haram activities in Borno State.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Kenneth Minimah, who handed over the released suspects to the sate Governor, Kashim Shettima at the Maimalari Cantonment yesterday in Maiduguri, the state capital, said the suspects had been investigated and found not to have any link with Boko Haram or terror activities.
“We have over 100 detainees who were suspected to have link with Boko Haram. They include 100 men, 40 underaged boys, 24 women and 18 children. They have been thoroughly investigated and acquitted of any involvement in the activities of Boko Haram or connected with the group, We have decided to hand them over to the Borno State Government,” Minimah said.
He said the release of the suspects was part of the activities lined up for the Army Day celebration that started in Abuja last week. He said the army decided to round up the event in Maiduguri, where its troops were currently engaged in counter-insurgency operations codenamed: Operation Zaman Lafia.
He pledged that the military would not abdicate in its responsibility to protect Nigerian territory against terrorists and end Boko Haram.
The army chief, who arrived Maiduguri yesterday with the military hierarchy, said the Army Day celebration was to project achievements, capabilities and prospects of the Nigerian Army while boosting the morale of men and officers fighting to restore peace in the North-East.
He said the army was holding some of the activities in Borno State being the worst hit by Boko Haram insurgency among the affected three North-East states.
The decision, according to him, was to show the world that Borno State was secured with social and economic activities going on.
Minimah had earlier paid a courtesy visit to Governor Shettima and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Umar El-Kanemi, after which the trio laid wreath for the fallen soldiers at the military cemetery near the Headquarters of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The Chief of Army Staff also addressed and decorated officers and troops in counter-insurgency operations with medals at 212 Battalion Parade Ground, Maimalari Cantonment.
Shettima, who commended the military for adhering to the rule of law in handling of the cases of the suspects, urged the media to be fair and just in their reportage of the Nigerian military.