The Acting Director of Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, of The Defence Headquarters said on Thursday that Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) of Nigerian military has handed over 86 Boko Haram child fighters to Borno State Rehabilitation Centre in Bulumkutu, which he said the fighters voluntarily surrendered to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.
According to him, the child fighters who are between ages 10 and 19 are part of the 1,370 Boko Haram fighters who have so far surrendered to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.
Nwachukwu said: “After thorough profiling and screening, the minors were considered suitable for the six months De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme.
“Arrangement is also ongoing to transfer another set of 500 repentant insurgents to Operation Safe Corridor for DRR Programme.
“The handover ceremony was witnessed by the Borno State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo and UNICEF Official, Mr Clement Adams.
“They congratulated the surrendered fighters for laying down their arms and urged them to take advantage of the DRR programme to turn a new leaf and abandon the senseless struggle.
“Operation Safe Corridor is a Defence Headquarters led non-kinetic multi-national and multi-agency humanitarian operation conducted in tandem with extant international humanitarian laws to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram terrorists in the North East to shun violent extremism.
“The operation is designed to also de-radicalise, rehabilitate and re-integrate repentant Boko Haram combatants who willingly surrender to troops.
“The scheme is a global model that enjoys collaboration and support from local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as Multi-national Organisations.”.