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13 Oct 2017

FG Jails 45 Deadly Boko Haram Members, Frees 468

About 45 deadly Boko Haram members have been sentenced to between three and 31 years in jail by a court in Niger state.
Some Boko Haram members
The Federal High Court sitting in Kainji, Niger State, has convicted and sentenced 45 Boko Haram members to between three and 31 years in jail.

A statement issued on Friday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the court decision followed the conclusion of the first phase of the trial of 575 Boko Haram suspects brought before it.

The statement signed by his Special Adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi, further said that the court discharged 468 suspects who had no case to answer.

The court struck out 34 cases while 28 other suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja and Minna.

Mohammed said that the court ordered that the 468 discharged persons should undergo deradicalisation and rehabilitation programmes before handing over to their respective state governments.

He said the Court adjourned the trial of other suspects to January 2018.

The Minister recalled that the trial had commenced with the formal remand of 1,669 suspects for a period of 90 days.

He said that the court had ordered that the suspects be arraigned within the specified period or released unconditionally.

Meanwhile, reports say that Chad has withdrawn hundreds of troops from neighbouring Niger, where they were helping local forces fight Boko Haram Islamist militants, humanitarian sources and officials said.

The pull-out over the past two weeks could weaken a region-wide struggle against the militants who have killed tens of thousands of people, forced many more to flee and triggered a humanitarian crisis.

There was no immediate explanation or comment from defense officials in Chad.

The move came a month after the vast central African country complained about an unexpected U.S. travel ban imposed on its nationals.

Chad warned at the time the order could affect its security commitments, which include its involvement in the U.S.-backed fight against Boko Haram.

Residents said the withdrawal had already had an impact on Niger’s Diffa region, which has seen a string of attacks by Boko Haram militants crossing over from their base in neighbouring Nigeria.

Ibrahim Arimi from the border village of Bosso said banditry had increased since the Chadian troops started leaving and he had been temporarily moved to another village for safety.

Diffa parliamentarian Lamido Moumouni said residents had started complaining.

“They have come to rely on the forces so there is a perception that security will be lacking,” he said by telephone.

At its peak in 2016 after an attack in Bosso, Chad had 2,000 troops in Niger to help counter Boko Haram although security sources said this has fallen since.

- NAN

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