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‘We’re in a very difficult situation’ — Zulum speaks on reintegrating repentant insurgents

  Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno, says the state is in a difficult situation over the reintegration of repentant insurgents. Zulum sp...

 


Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno, says the state is in a difficult situation over the reintegration of repentant insurgents.


Zulum spoke on Saturday when he visited Bama and Gwoza LGAs for humanitarian and developmental activities.

 

Over 100 members of the insurgent group and their families are said to have surrendered in the past month.

 

Stakeholders have expressed fear over the de-radicalisation of repentant insurgents by the Nigerian Army under its ‘Safe Corridor’ programme.

 

Speaking on the option of reintegration, the Borno governor said the choice is between an endless war or to “cautiously accept” the surrendered insurgents.

 

He added that accepting repentant insurgents has the risk of offending feelings of victims, which may lead to rebellion, adding that there is also the risk of such insurgents returning to their old ways if they are rejected.

 

The governor said the situation requires careful analysis, which will consider the input of stakeholders from communities to review the pros, cons and implications of the surrender.

 

 “We (in Borno) are in a very difficult situation over the ongoing surrender by insurgents. We have to critically look between two extreme conditions and decide our future. We have to choose between an endless war or to cautiously accept the surrendered terrorists, which is really painful and difficult for anyone that has lost loved ones, difficult for all of us, and even for the military whose colleagues have died, and for volunteers,” he said.

 

“No one would find it easy to accept killers of his or her parents, children and other loved ones. In the last 12 years, we have been in this war and we have lost thousands of fellow citizens. We don’t know the whereabouts of thousands of others; we don’t know whether they are alive or dead.

 

“On my way travelling to Gwoza and Bama, I saw many people cultivating their farmlands by the roadside, and this is an indication of emerging peace, which we have to sustain in order to salvage our people. However, like I said, we must come together to carefully analyse the two extremes and come up with a workable framework.”

 

Zulum further said he will engage in high-level consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari, service chiefs, resident security heads, traditional rulers, the national assembly, and other stakeholders to come up with a framework on how to move forward.

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