Following the mass trial of hundreds of suspected Boko Haram extremists before a court at the Kainji military base in central Niger state, the Ministry of Justice on Sunday announced the release of 475 suspected members of Boko Haram on the ground that most of the cases against them were dropped for lack of evidence.
According to the ministry’s spokesman, Salihu Othman Isah, the release order was issued on Friday, with the 475 suspects to be returned to their home states for “proper rehabilitation” before being sent back to their families.
He disclosed that they had been arrested on grounds that they either belonged to Boko Haram, or had concealed information about the group’s plans or its members’ whereabouts.
“However, the Prosecution Counsel could not charge them with any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them. Therefore, the suspects were released,” Isah said.
Among those released was a young girl with a three-month-old baby from Borno State who was taken to a Boko Haram enclave by her brother and married off to his friend when she was 11. She was arrested in 2014 while trying to escape.
Equally among those freed were two mechanics and identical twins who were arrested in Bauchi State in 2010 after servicing a vehicle at their workshop which belonged to a Boko Haram member.