The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, through the Operation Safe Corridor, has handed over 86 Boko Haram children fighters to the Borno State Government for rehabilitation.
It stated that the children terrorists voluntarily surrendered to troops during operations.
The military said on Thursday that the handover of the children fighters was part of efforts to ensure that minors and other repentant Boko Haram fighters in the North-East “were given the necessary support and opportunity to embrace peace through the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor.”
The children would be taken to the Borno State Rehabilitation Centre in Bulumkutu and monitored by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
The children, whose ages range from 10 to 19, are billed to also undergo some childcare programmes.
Our correspondent had exclusively reported on Saturday that about 287 former Boko Haram fighters had been admitted by the Nigerian military for a rehabilitation programme in Gombe State.
It had also been reported that the repentant fighters would be joining the safe corridor operation in “two days’ time.”
The acting Director, Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, stated in a release on Thursday that the children would be admitted for a six-month deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme.
He said, “The children fighters are part of over 1,370 Boko Haram combatants who have so far surrendered to the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. After a thorough profiling and screening, the minors were considered suitable for the six-month deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme.
“Arrangement is ongoing to transfer another set of 500 repentant insurgents to Operation Safe Corridor for the DRR Programme. Operation Safe Corridor is a DHQ-led non-kinetic, multi-national and multi-agency humanitarian operation to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram terrorists to shun extremism.”
The handover ceremony was witnessed by the Borno State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Zuwaira Gambo, and one UNICEF official, Mr Clement Adams.