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Published Thu Mar 03 2016

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Boko Haram: 76 Starving Members Surrender to Nigerian Military – By Conor Gaffey

Scores of starving Boko Haram members have surrendered to Nigerian forces, according to a military officer and civilian self-defense fighter.

Seventy-six members of the group, including women and children, surrendered to Nigerian soldiers on Saturday in the town of Gwoza, Borno state, AP reported on Wednesday. The Boko Haram members looked emaciated and were reportedly begging for food.

The detainees are now being held at military headquarters in Maiduguri, where the group’s insurgency started in 2009, the Nigerian military officer said. Other members of the Boko Haram—which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in March 2015—want to surrender, according to the civilian self-defense fighter.

Boko Haram has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced more than two million during its six-year insurgency. The group has been known to forcibly recruit women and children—Boko Haram members kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014.

The group suffered territorial losses in 2015 after a sustained Nigerian military offensive, ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in March 2015 partly on a promise to vanquish the militant group. Boko Haram is now confined to the Sambisa Forest in Borno state.

Buhari claimed in December 2015 that Boko Haram had been “technically” defeated, but the group continues to launch suicide bombings and hit and run attacks. In the first two months of 2016, Boko Haram has killed 151 people in Nigeria, the majority during a firebomb and gun attack on the village of Dalori near Maiduguri in January, which killed more than 80 people.

The group’s insurgency has also spread to other countries in the Lake Chad basin—Cameroon, Chad and Niger—which have become targets for Boko Haram after joining the Multi-National Joint Task Force, an 8,700-strong regional force..Read more (Courtesy: Newsweek)  

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