There has been reports about mass surrender and laying down of arms by Boko Haram terrorists. The news has been the talk of the town. It has also continued to dominate the the first pages of newspapers. Recently, on the 12th of August 2021, about 1000 fighters and their family members have so far surrendered to the troops.
The alarming number of terrorists abandoning their evil ways and laying down their arms has shown that the Army is putting so much pressure on the Terrorists. The Terrorists are experiencing shortage of food and ammunations. Their supplies has been blocked and they are helpless. They were left with no option than to surrender.
The Unforgivable Sins of Boko Haram
The Unforgivable Sins of Boko Haram are just too many. The cold-bloodedness, bestiality and brutality of Boko Haram terrorists towards innocent Nigerians cannot be expressed. And to say these people minding their own businesses.
The issue about what happens to repentant and surrendered Boko Haram Terrorists has been a source of concern to the affected communities. Tension is already high. So many rumours are also going on about how the Terrorists are going free.
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The tension is being brought about because the Boko Haram Terrorists have committed so much unforgivable atrocities. They have caused a lot of pains in the heart of thousands. Displaced Millions. And kill thousands with the highest form of brutality.
Due to such crimes, it is hard to Intergrate Boko back into the society they caused so much pains. And unrepairable damages.
Healing Takes Time But Sacrifices Has Been Made
Healing of wounds by affected communities would take time to heal but sacrifices has been made by our security personnels, international communities and our local communities.
Firstly, hundreds of the troops fighting the Terrorists have lost their lives. Their families have become orphaned. Some of the troops have incurred permanent disability, of different degrees.
Many local and International bodies have made so much sacrifices. The Nigerian government did invested so much resources. Both human and physical cash.
The international bodies and all partners in fighting Terrorism have also made so much sacrifices. The Non governmental organization have been providing aids to victims of Terrorism for the past 10 years.
The NGos have lost a great number of humanitarian aid workers. Whom were gruesomely killed by Boko Haram Terrorists.
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If we are to have a recap of all Terrorists activities in the Northeast, it will be hard to have any form of leniency to Boko Haram. There Evil ways and activities cannot just be estimated
How Nigerian Army Plans To Rehabilitate and Intergrate Boko Haram Terrorists Back To The Society
If we are to go by the different atrocities committed by Boko Haram, no one will like to see them being intergrated back to the society. But the Nigerian Army is an institution guided by rules of engagement.
The Army Abides by the Nigeria is a nation governed by law. The Nigerian military is an institution guided by law and rules of engagement. Domestic and international laws, particularly Law of Armed Conflicts and the Geneva Convention clearly stipulate that when an adversary surrenders or once he is injured to such a degree he is no longer able to fight, you do not shoot at him or kill him.
Nigeria is a nation also governed by law and the Nigerian military is an institution guided by law and rules of engagement. Domestic and international laws, particularly Law of Armed Conflicts and the Geneva Convention clearly stipulate that when an adversary surrenders or once he is injured to such a degree he is no longer able to fight, you do not shoot at him or kill him.
The law goes on to say that the best you can do is to take them into your possession (more like ‘protective custody’) by moving them out of battle zone.
Secondly, you document them and immediately commence profiling process by instituting investigations to ascertain the level of their involvement and level of crime they might have committed.
Indeed, there must be differences in their levels of their involvement or crimes committed.
So serious crimes must be punished to serves as deterrent to others. Those with serious involvement will have to be prosecuted and sentenced. These includea giving them capital punishment if the court so decides.
The Army can kill at the sin of action. But shouldn’t kill someone who has surrendered to them. Surrendering means the person is incapacitated. It is also an indication that he no longer willing to harm you or capable of posing any threat to you.
The laws equally state that you cannot withdraw his citizenship and tell him to leave Nigeria. This is what the international law says and as a responsible member of the international community and signatory to these laws and conventions, Nigeria government and the Nigerian military have no option than to abide by them.
Let’s get this clear: it does not mean that because they have surrendered, they will automatically be asked to go home and sin no more; not at all.
Lastly, before they are released or integrated back into the society, they must undergo rigorous rehabilitation and ‘detoxification’ process in the form of de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reorientation programmes.
Why The Laws Must Be abided
The whole of military is govern by the Nigerian laws and constitution. Terrorists cannot just be neautralised after they have laid down their arms. A laid down procedure must be followed. And surely,.those found wanting would be prosecuted accordingly.
In effect therefore, the decision to abide by those laws is never and should never be an indication of compromise. It is also not a hint of any ulterior motives on the part of government or military authorities as some cynical commentators would have their audiences believe.
The truth rather is that the decision to take the moral high ground of operating within the confines of law of war and decency not only hallmarks Nigerian military’s sense of responsibility but equally strengthens the non-kinetic part of Nigeria’s counter insurgency and counter terrorism strategy.
As Sun Tzu, the Chinese military tactician and philosopher of yore wrote in his classic, The Art of War, the acme of military skill is to defeat the enemy without firing a shot.
It will therefore fit into Nigeria’s counter insurgency strategic policy if our military wraps up the war on terror in the north east with less gun fire and more of changing rigid mindsets. And this is not just about Boko Haram terrorists.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya was explicit in his admonition to all terrorist groups operating in any part of the country to abandon their illegitimate cause, give up their arms or be prepared to test the full might of the Nigerian military.
Gen Yahaya went further to reassure Nigerians that the Army being a professional military organisation, will continue to act in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian constitution, as well as international best practices
General Yahaya alao stated that the NA will never encourage any act of lawlessness or extra judicial killings. Accordingly, he said, “all surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed on to the relevant agencies of Government for further assessment in line with the extant provisions”.
These assurances should assuage our apprehensions over what becomes of the repentant and surrendered Boko Haram terrorists.
What are your views?Do you think repented Boko Haram Terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to be intergrated back to the society. Share your views by commenting below. Don’t forget to like and share the article to increase our fan base.
References: Chidi Omeje
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