Dozens of militants with the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group have surrendered to Nigerien authorities, less than a week after Nigeria announced that its troops captured the group’s last key bastion in the country’s northeast.
“Thirty one young people from Diffa, who were enrolled a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender,” Nigerien Interior Minister Bazoum Mohamed said.
The troubled Diffa region, located in the southeasternmost part of Niger, borders Nigeria’s volatile Borno State, where Boko Haram hides in the dense Sambisa Forest.
One of the deserters appeared on a Nigerien public television program and recounted why they had decided to give themselves up to local authorities.
“We have deserted Boko Haram because we found that what the organization stands for is not acceptable. We expect a pardon from the government so that we can participate in the development of the country and help us get rid of the trauma,” he said.
The Nigerien government has reportedly assured that it will grant an amnesty for all the deserters providing that they undergo a de-radicalization program, after which they will be enrolled in socio-economic reintegration projects.
Back in June, tens of thousands of people were forced to abandon their homes in Diffa as Boko Haram terrorists launched a sweeping offensive across the region, and in September, at least five Nigerien troopers were killed by the terror group near the village of Toumour, about 65 kilometers northeast of Diffa.
Niger has been one of the countries affected by the more than seven years of Boko Haram militancy in Nigeria. The Takfiri terrorist group has routinely launched attacks across Nigerian borders into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, Press TV reported.