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Boko Haram: Massive surrender, a Trojan horse or end of war

In March 2021, Gov Babagana Zulum voiced his concern about the rehabilitation programme

Over the past weeks, hundreds of members from  the dreaded Boko Haram sect have come out of their hideouts and surrendered to the troops of the Nigerian Army and more are still coming rapidly changing the number in a dramatic way.  This is good news as no war has come to an end on the battlefield rather it ended on the negotiating table.

But we must be mindful of a Trojan horse in handling those who claimed to have repented.

In the past, we had occasion when insurgents repented and were fully rehabilitated and integrated into their various communities where they were accepted and living a normal life. On the other hand, there were some who after being rehabilitated went back to the bush.

In March 2021, Gov Babagana Zulum voiced his concern about the rehabilitation programme being run by the military. He said the programme was not working and must be reviewed.

A typical example of how dangerous this massive surrender could turn out if not properly handled or reviewed is already happening in Afghanistan with the Taliban taking over the country after the withdrawal of  the U. S.

It is understandable that for security reasons, the government may not disclose what it intends to do with this group, however, community acceptance is of essence in this instance. There is, therefore, a need to disclose new innovations the government will take to address all the loopholes identified.

Another critical factor is to understand the true reasons behind the massive surrender this time. Various stories have emerged in this regard, nevertheless, the official one is that they are running from the heavy bombardment to save their lives.

But could it could also be that they are members of the Shekau faction who do not want to be part of the new leadership but may go back when they are fully equipped to take on their adversaries.

Whatever, we are at a deciding moment where we must choose between continuation of a decade-long insurgency that continues to claims lives or forgive and work towards rebuilding our lost glories.

To aid forgiveness and acceptance of the communities, especially those who have lost love ones, the security who have lost colleagues and the generally traumatised people, its pertinent to ensure all internally displaced persons are resettled and the remaining insurgents who refused to surrender are subdued.

We must be strong and choose lasting peace over continuation of war but carefully and diligently without making a mortal mistake capable of taking away our strongest hold.


 Musa Gambo lives in Maiduguri


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