The Boko Haram Terrorists are said to be surrendering en masse, as the multinational joint task force, which the Armed Forces of Nigeria are participant, continue intense attack on the hideout of the terrorists.
This much was expressed by the Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche. He said this while fielding questions during a press conference, even as he dissuaded citizens from patronizing fake news.
Speaking on the 20th of April, 2020, Major General Enenche Said: “Once they surrender or they are captured; they are profiled: separated into the high risk and then low risk. Low risk: those who say –they are people that surrender. Even yesterday, I am waiting to compile it. Next time I will give you the figure. They are surrendering en masse! And the law, international law of war says that if your belligerents or the enemy surrenders, what do you do? You take him as prisoner of war. That is if it is a conventional war. If it is not a conventional war, all other conditions that apply, you apply to them, you treat them humanely. And Nigeria is a law abiding country just like its Armed Forces. So once somebody carries the weapons, hands-up (even if they do not have weapons, “I’m in the bush, I’ve been fighting, I have surrendered”) you treat him by international conventions! So, if they say they will not follow conventions, we follow!”
The Armed Forces of Nigeria have come under criticism in the past for their handling of war victims. Hence the cautious adherence to ‘International Conventions’ since the special courts for trial of captured or surrendered Boko Haram fighters/terrorists started.
He alleged Chad to be playing to the gallery while responding to questions about Chad. “Talking about Chad saying, If you don’t take care of your own portion, we will go away.” The question is, are they holding any portion of Nigeria? That is the question I’ll ask them! Are they holding any portion? We are all stakeholders in the Lake Chad Basin. Thank God I operated there. It’s just like a border. If you say you will not taking care of your border, that is your own headache. And the Army, the Chief Officer was on ground there; I think he is even there up ‘till now. And they were on ground, where did you —where are you holding? Demographically, they are holding any inch of Nigerian land…So what champion are you, for pushing an enemy out of your own territory? Why did you leave them there for this long? Those are questions you people should ask them. I don’t want to go into too much details and begin to have diplomatic issues or strategic issues. So, my dear, tell Nigerians that they are not holding any demographic inch of Nigerian land. So, if they want to withdraw from wherever they are supposed to look over at the Lake Chad, let them withdraw! But that is not the agreement, they cannot withdraw. Because there is a commission; and all the contributions, I can tell you, they are monitoring it. Because everything that happens here, it bears on the whole world”
Events in recent days have shown that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are gaining much grounds, and destroying the last vestiges of camps of the terrorists.
This response from the Nigerian Armed Forces is coming on the back of criticisms from the media against the Armed Forces especially as the Chad onslaught was being heavily publicized, and the Chad Armed forces threatened to leave the Nigerian border.
The press conference also put to light the issue of rehabilitated Boko Haram fighters/recruits. Major General Enenche appeared quite upset and spoke in strong terms and with lots of emphasis.
It would be recalled that the Leadership Newspaper on 2nd of December, 2020, more than four months ago, reported the Defence Headquarters as saying that about 500 Boko Haram terrorists have been convicted.