More than 51,000 repentant terrorists and their families have surrendered to troops serving in various theatres of operation in the North-East region, the Nigerian military has said.
The Commander of Nigerian Army’s Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Chris Musa, disclosed this during an interview with Channels Television, aired on Monday.
He explained that residents in the region have been helpful to the military, especially in the area of intelligence gathering despite the communication barrier in some localities.
“We get information as quickly as things are happening,” the commander said. “Sometimes, the challenge might probably be the way to communicate because we do not have network everywhere; but as soon as they get to where they can send messages across to us, they let us know.
“That has assisted us greatly in subduing the insurgents to such an extent that we have so much peace. We have over 51,000 insurgents and their family members that have surrendered to us.”
While many individuals and groups perceive the laying down of weapons by insurgents as a sign that the security forces are winning the war, others remain skeptical about the intention of such persons.
General Musa, on his part, believes Nigerians, especially residents in the North-East, have nothing to fear as the military will continue to ensure they are well protected from criminally-minded persons.
According to him, the Nigerian Armed Forces has managed situations as such in the past in other countries, and replicating the same approach will be no different this time.
The Operation Hadin Kai chief added, “Normally there will be some concerns and I don’t blame the public for that, but I just want to assure them that we are professionals and we have done this before … in other countries where we had issues of disarmament.
“What goes on here now is that as soon as any of them is willing to surrender, he reports straight to the closest military location. The commander on the ground has his troops ready to disarm them, take over their arms, search them and profile them.
“Then the state government provides buses to move them to the camps already provided. The state government takes care of the management and administration, what we do is ensure that the perimeter is secure. So, we want to assure members of the communities that they are well secured and that they (repentant terrorists) will not pose any threat to anybody.”