The Nigerian Army on Wednesday freed 983 persons arrested by troops and detained for alleged complicity in Boko Haram activities.
The army also handed freed suspects to the Borno State Government for an onward reunion with their families.
The suspects had been in a military detention centre in Maiduguri until Wednesday when they were asked to go home after months of interrogation.
Some of them said they were held in the detention centre for over three years.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, a counterinsurgency force in Borno, Major. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, said the suspects, who include five females, were taken into custody following alleged involvement with Boko Haram activities.
“The world is over-armed and peace is underfunded; therefore the first step towards peace in any theatre is to replace the widespread culture of war with the culture of peace,” he said.
Adeniyi said the handing over of the 983 former suspects was not only significant to the people and government of Borno State but is also a milestone in the armed forces’ resolve to uphold its constitutional duty.
“Several arrests have been made during various offensive and defensive operations conducted over the years.
“During the period, we have captured confirmed and surrendered Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathisers among which were the 983 freed suspects being handed over to the Borno State government today.”
Adeniyi said the 983 had been screened and cleared by the joint investigation board.
“Today I present to His Excellency Governor of Borno State, a total of 983 investigated and cleared Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathizers in our detention facilities for their rehabilitation and integration with their family.
“The males among them are 978 while the females are five in number – which makes a total of 983,” he stated.
Adeniyi reassured the government and people of the state that the armed forces would not intimidate, harass or coerce any person “unjustly.”