4 December 2013

Nigerian Military Recommends Trial of Over 500 Boko Haram Suspects

Photo: Premium Times
JTF fighting terrorism

A Joint Investigation Team set up by the Defence Headquarters on Wednesday recommended the immediate trial of over 500 Boko Haram suspects.

The suspects were arrested during security operations against terrorists in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States, the military said. ‬

‪The Director, Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, in a statement said the suspects are among the almost 1,400 detainees screened by the team of investigators at the detention facilities in the states between July and September. ‬

‪In July, the Defence Headquarters set up a 19-member Joint Investigation Team of senior officers comprising of military, police, officials of Federal and State Ministries of Justice, Immigration, Prisons and Customs officers.‬

‪The team was saddled with examining, classifying and recommending appropriate actions against detainees apprehended during operations in the North East. ‬

‪The measure was meant to decongest the detention facilities in the area of operations and also ensure that necessary processes were set in motion for expeditious prosecution of culpable suspects in the fight against terror.‬

‪Mr. Olukolade said that the suspects recommended for trial include high profile suspects, some of whom were training other terrorists in weapon handling, and also those who confessed to being trained in Mali and other countries for the purpose of perpetrating terror in Nigeria. ‬

‪He also noted that among the suspects included a Medical Doctor, paramilitary or service personnel who were fighting on the side of the terrorists and other individuals who offered direct logistics support to the terrorists. ‬

‪In addition, the team recommended the release of 167 of the detainees from detention and a review of about 614 inconclusive cases. ‬

‪The report by the team also proposed that some of the detainees be tried for other offences ranging from armed robbery, murder, to drugs related offences.‬

‪Mr. Olukolade said that if the recommendations by the team sails through, the trial of some of the suspects will be held in the affected states while others may be tried at the federal level by High Courts. ‬

The ‪Chief of Defence Staff, Ola Ibrahim, while commending the team assured that the recommendations will be treated with dispatch after due consultations with appropriate authorities. ‬

‪Mr. Ibrahim said the military authorities would continue to ensure that due process and highest professional standards were followed in managing the security operations in the states covered by the State of Emergency.‬

He added that the defence headquarters, DHQ, was committed to taking necessary steps that would ensure justice and fair play. ‬

‪He said the report has been forwarded to the Presidency through the office of National Security Adviser (NSA).‬

‪Mr. Olukolade added that the NSA is already in consultation with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on subsequent litigation procedures following consideration of recommendations in the report.

The Boko Haram have waged an insurgency against the government, killing thousands of civilians and security personnel in the process.

A state of emergency was declared in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe in May to curb the insurgency.

The most recent attack by the Boko Haram on Monday saw attacks on military facilities and an airport. The DHQ said five of its aircraft were 'incapacitated' by the terrorists during the attack.

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