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Boko Haram members, wives welcome 263 babies after repenting

By News Desk

The repentant Boko Haram members and their wives have welcomed no fewer than 263 babies within four months after they laid down their weapons and relocated to camps provided by the Federal and Borno State Governments.

As gathered, the delivery was conducted at the health facility located inside the Hajj camp in Maiduguri, which is currently being used as a temporary shelter for repentant terrorists.

The Borno State Government disclosed this to journalists in Maiduguri, the state capital on Tuesday, after the last child’s birth delivery was taken by health experts within the camp.

According to the state government, over 16,000 repentant terrorists are being accommodated in the camp after their radicalization by the military.

Giving the breakdown of the delivery to journalists, the Medical Officer in charge of the health facility, Dr. Mohammed Saleh, said 94 children were birthed in July 2022, 98 in August, 60 in September, and 11 in October.

“Almost on a daily basis, we carry out delivery and they have all been successful considering the medical experts deployed by the governments to the camp ,” Saleh said.

Although he did not give figures for women who gave birth in the month of November, it was learnt that over 20 women were said to have given birth in the last two weeks, among whom was a 20-year-old woman who delivered twins.

There are currently more than 500 women at the Hajj camp who were said to be pregnant and may deliver their baby before end of the year.

Also speaking to journalists, the Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Security Matters, Brigadier General Abdullahi Ishaq (Retd), said since the state government started the collaborative non-kinetic approach to the Boko Haram insurgence in 2021, over 82,000 of the fighters and their families had surrendered.

He added that more than 3,500 had been reintegrated into their communities after they were debriefed and deradicalisation by the military in the state.

According to him, more than 85 percent of the repentant Boko Haram fighters who have surrendered were forcefully enlisted by the combatant fighters.

However, logistics for fending off the repentant terrorists remained a major challenge, the state government said.

The Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Zuwaira Gambo told newsmen that the government had the political will to implement the model it had adopted for the de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of terrorists who were willing to lay down their arms and surrender.

According to her, it is not easy to house the magnitude of the ex-fighters and feed them simultaneously. But she added that the government was doing everything possible to achieve that.

“We want to ensure they are reintegrated into society as better people. We have also created skill acquisition programmes for men and women to be empowered with skills before they go back to their communities.

“Schools have also been built with the support of partners where the children of the repentant insurgents can acquire education. They are willing to acquire Western education now, contrary to the ideology of Boko Haram,” she said.

The Hajj camp is the biggest among the three camps housing the repentant terrorists.

Over 3,000 houses have been constructed in the camp for those married with children, while those who are single are kept in other tents.

Over 6,000 men are in the camp while women and children number over 10,000.

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