New information regarding the release of 101 ‘Boko Haram’ suspects who were arrested at various locations in 2009 has emerged.
Within Nigeria had reported how the suspected Boko Haram members were released from Kirikiri prison last Sunday.
However, latest information has clarified the circumstances surrounding the release of the suspected terrorists whose freedom has been greeted with groans of displeasure by some citizenry.
According to Daily Trust, it was an out-of-court settlement that spurred the recent release of the suspected terrorists and had been in detention at various correctional facilities, including the Kirikiri maximum and medium centres in Lagos.
This is contrary to recent claims especially in social media that the suspects were released in exchange for the remaining 23 abducted passengers of the Kaduna- Abuja train.
Reliable sources who are very familiar with the case said that discussions for the release of the suspects started long ago when it was evident that there were no facts to prove that they were Boko Haram members, considering that most of them were arrested in the streets of various cities at the onset of the Boko Haram uprising 13 years ago.
But while fielding questions from journalists after the National Security Council (NSC) meeting in Abuja on the released suspects, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor said, “… Perhaps may be at this point, what I may need to add is the fact that Council was also briefed that 101 ex-combatants were taken to Operation Safe Corridor (in Gombe) and currently undergoing the process of de-radicalization at the centre.
“These were ex-combatants that have been in detention for several years, some of whom have served their terms. Others were those that were awaiting trial, but because of the long time that they have been involved and in line with the protocol or the procedure for handling anyone who has been exposed to terrorism or related offenses, the procedure for them to be taken through a process of de-radicalization.”
The suspects were arrested at various times in Bauchi, Maiduguri and Kano in 2009 on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram.
This happened when police and other security agencies embarked on operations aimed at taming the uprising staged by Boko Haram members, led by Mohammed Yusuf.
Since then, the suspects had been in detention with no hope of freedom until recently.
Multiple sources said the release of the 101 suspects had nothing to do with the release of the 23 train abductees.
“There is no iota of truth in the alleged prisoner swap. The terrorists who released the last set of the train victims have nothing to do with the 101 people released from Kirikiri. Those people in Kirikiri were not Boko Haram members. There was no evidence to nail them.
“The terrorists that attacked the Abuja-Kaduna train had set their members free during the invasion of Kuje prison in Abuja. Those people freed from Kirikiri have no value to the terrorists. It was just a coincidence that their release nearly coincided with the release of the train victims,” a source close to the military in Maiduguri, Borno State, said.