Lt. Colonel SK Usman, Army Spokesman

SaharaReporters has confirmed that the Nigerian Army has released 182 prisoners from Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State. These prisoners were detained because of their suspected ties to Boko Haram and were reportedly released to the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima.

SaharaReporters confirmed that 40 boys, 24 women, and 18 children were among those released today. About 100 adult men were also released.

Army Spokesman, Colonel SK Usman, told SaharaReporters that the “joint intelligence community investigated and authorized” the release of these prisoners. He added that the release was part of Nigeria’s National Army Day, which was held on July 6th to commemorate the first shots of Nigeria’s Civil War at Garkem, Cross Rivers State.

In addition to the prisoner release, Colonel Usman said that the Army was celebrating the opening of a new military center, providing two days of free medical treatment for Borno State residents, and awarding Purple Heart and Operation Zaman Lafiya medals to soldiers fighting Boko Haram. All these events were tied to Nigeria’s National Army Day.

Colonel Usman told SaharaReporters that he was not in a position to discuss high-level policy decisions, including Amnesty Programs or whether negotiations with Boko Haram were underway.

Last week President Buhari announced that his administration would be willing to negotiate with Boko Haram but “not from a position of weakness.” It has also been reported by SaharaReporters that Boko Haram has publicly stated that it would not engage in talks with the Nigerian government while some of its members were detained. 

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