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Nigeria: Army to release over 300 suspects cleared of being members of Boko Haram

The notorious Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram   -  
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The Nigerian army has said it will free more than 300 people suspected of being part of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. It comes after a court in the northeastern Borno state, the heartland of the insurgency ruled there was no evidence they committed any crimes.

Defence spokesperson Major General Edward Buba on Thursday said the 313 suspected people were prosecuted by the Department of Prosecution, part of the ministry of Justice and will be released.

The military has transferred them, including men, women, and children, to the Borno State Government for proper reintegration into society.

The Nigerian authorities' handling of suspects, many who have been detained for long periods without trial has come under intense scrutiny by humanitarian groups who say they often infringe on suspects rights.

As of February 2018, some of the Boko Haram cases heard in central Nigeria had been held without trial since 2010, according to the justice ministry statement which said “the prosecution counsel could not charge them (with) any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them”.

The jihadist group Boko Haram grabbed headlines worldwide with its 2014 kidnapping of more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. The outrage sparked a global campaign for their return tagged #BringBackOurGirls. April 12 will be the tenth anniversary of the kidnapping yet dozens of the girls have not been found.

Boko Haram began staging its insurgency in 2009 seeking to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state.

Tens of thousands have been killed and more than 2 million people forced to flee their homes, spawning one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

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