The Nigerian Army handed over 42 suspected Boko Haram members to the Borno State Government today, 39 of them are indigenes of Borno State and three others foreigners.
According to Deputy Director of Army Public Relations of the 7 Division, Col. Sanni Usman, the released were suspected to have linked with Boko Haram militants and were arrested at different times in Maiduguri and elsewhere in Borno State.
Usman said the suspects were released after thorough investigations which cleared them of belonging to the Boko Haram sect.
Col. Usman further said a donation of N100,000 was given to each of them from the Nigerian Army to start a new life.
Among the released suspects were three foreigners from Cameroon, Chad, and a middle-aged man from Burkina Faso. Students, artisans, drivers, and laborers made up the remaining 39 persons held, and some of them said they have spent more than three years in custody.
Col. Usman handed over the released suspects to Governor Kashim Shettima on behalf of the army.
Governor Kashim Shettima expressed gratitude to the army for releasing the suspects to the state government. The governor also gave cash and other gifts to each of the released suspects.
A 300 level student of the University of Maiduguri who narrated his experience said he was arrested at his residence in Wulari In Maiduguri.
"I never knew that I could be free again but today marks a new beginning in my life. I will tell my story to my grandchildren," he said tearfully.
It was gathered that some of the suspects were allegedly maltreated while they were jailed. Some were so psychologically affected that they could not remember their names.