Boko Haram suspects released for rehabilitation


A Nigerian court released 475 people allegedly affiliated with Boko Haram for rehabilitation, the justice ministry said, as the country’s biggest legal investigation of the militant Islamist insurgency continues.

The first person convicted for the 2014 kidnapping of Chibok schoolgirls, sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment last week, was handed an additional 15-year sentence, to run back-to-back, the justice ministry said in a statement.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million forced to flee in north-eastern Nigeria since Boko Haram began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state.

Humanitarian groups criticise Nigerian authorities’ handling of detainees for infringing on the suspects’ rights.

Some whose cases were heard last week in a detention centre in central Nigeria had been held without trial since 2010, according to the justice ministry statement.
“The prosecution counsel could not charge them with any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them,” the ministry said.

In October last year, the ministry said 45 people suspected of Boko Haram links were convicted and jailed. A further 468 suspects were discharged and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in either Abuja or Minna.