Members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect apparently fleeing from superior fire power from Nigeria’s military have reportedly surrendered to authorities in south neighbouring Niger Republic.
Writing on his twitter handle on Tuesday, Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s Interior Minister “thirty-one young people from Diffa, who were enrolled a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender,” as he toured the area near Nigeria’s northeast border.
The fighters arrived in the remote desert town of Diffa in groups and were being held by local authorities.
“I learned that the first who surrendered were not arrested, and I surrendered,” Reuters on Wednesday, quoted a former Boko Haram combatant as telling national television.
“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.”
In June, tens of thousands of people fled Diffa as Boko Haram swept the region. Five Niger soldiers were killed by the militants near Diffa in September.
It was not clear what will become of the ex-Boko Haram fighters, but authorities said there was the possibility of reintegrating them back into society. A security source said a meeting was planned for Wednesday in Diffa to discuss “the conditions of surrender”, without providing further details.